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FRANK CARTER’s New Album Lands Far from Ruin

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes release their sophomore full-length, Modern Ruin.

Well known for their raucous behaviour and thrilling live shows Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes return with a new record that is purely in-your-face punk rock, filled with a brutal honesty which goes right down your spine so cleverly.

It took Carter a while to discover the sounds he wanted to create. Having experienced being in different groups surely taught the artist all about musical directions he didn’t want to follow. After leading Gallows for six years from 2005 it was time for Pure Love, a collective that survived one-album cycle. Next, The Rattlesnakes were born and everything seemed to fall into place. Practically, only two years into their career and yet the band has managed to deliver two profound studio albums. Over a period of their fruitful collaboration, they have blossomed indeed.

One-minute-and-a-second long opening tune, Bluebelle, makes a peaceful and soothing intro to Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes‘ latest offering. However, when you listen closely you’ll realise there’s nothing peaceful about it. How could it be with a rounding up lyric “Because the worst that can happen is you die”? Frankly, nothing from this album will / should put you at ease.

It appears that Carter decided to confront his demons on the tracks of Modern Ruin. Taking on the subject of death alongside soul purification the musician delves into the matter of inner struggle. All that is masterfully covered in blankets embroidered in hard-hitting riffs and escalating drum patterns.

We’re only on the second song here when we hear singer’s confession: “I keep being woken / By screams and tears / And I don’t sleep / In the night-time now / And all my dreams have all gone to ground” (Lullaby). That shapes a pretty pessimistic image of mental human condition, especially since it’s not getting any better on the following tune. However, there’s a first glimpse of willingness to fight hidden on Snake Eyes when we’re being served with lyrics “I need your help but I can’t say it / Pull me out I ain’t gonna make it”.

The creative invention continues as Carter walks us through his creation. On Vampires it is crystal clear that his intentions and desires have shifted. “I don’t wanna live in the shadow of the mountain no more / I’m sick of being hidden in the darkness / I don’t belong here but here is where I wait”, that is a confident statement of a man who seeks some kind of revaluation, or just a simple transition in life we all need from time to time.

Naturally, we need to change the topic a little bit because what would music be without love? Wild Flowers, the most outstanding track from the album, is a successful take on romanticising in a punk rock style. With its anthemic hooks and ardent guitars the single reveals more profound aspect of the group’s songwriting skills. Perhaps, all about daisies and stars at first listen, the track shapes a sorrowful reality as Carter bursts into lyrics “And if this isn’t love don’t show me the truth” what leads to an inevitable end because “The Lovers are dead / The Lovers are cursed”.

The pulsating song Acid Veins is strong as it presents the artist in a commanding embodiment. “Give me a Modern Ruin I can be king of” Carter sings reaching out to “The idea that nobody dies” in the title track Modern Ruin.

When the melodic repetition of the words “We don’t belong in a wasteland” in closing Neon Rust start to echo throughout we slowly realise that this has never been just a story about a man. It’s been a story about the modern world we live in all along.

The album is built upon a massive foundation of hard-hitting riffs, solid bass line frames and intensifying percussion. The compilation of twelve raw guitar-led tracks with harsh vocal layers are a treat for punk rock fans, but Modern Ruin may seem a tad monotonous for others. It is loud and it is truthful but it lacks diversity at times. Besides Wild Flowers and Neon Rust the rest blends too vastly and you are being left with a feeling of wanting more after the listen is over.

Nevertheless, something tells me that the missing part just needs a proper live kick so it could be beautifully delivered at Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes show. Live experience is what defines the band after all.