Album Review: ‘Modern Ruin’ by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

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Photo: Killyourstereo.com

by Cameron Watson

I have never listened to Frank Carter before. Just thought I should let you all know before I get into this. The guy has been recommended to me countless times and I’ve always put off listening to him because I hate listening to bands I’m unfamiliar with. I know what I like and I like my niche. Yet here I am, now completely sold on his sound. Goddamn it.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are a fairly new band to the hardcore punk scene. Formed by front man Carter who originally sang in Gallows (hardcore punk) and Pure Love (rock), Carter wanted to return to his hardcore roots and so formed the band we have today back in 2015. From there, the band has released a few EPs and an album in late 2015 entitled ‘Blossom’ which peaked in the UK Album Charts at #18. The new album, ‘Modern Ruin’, is currently sitting pretty at #4 in the midweek chart in its first week and so this Friday (27th) I imagine the band would love to push that to the top spot.

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‘Modern Ruin’ album cover. Photo: Exclaim.ca

The album as a whole is quite a beautiful masterpiece. Carter has a very specific singing style, but also a recording style that gives his voice a consistent echo throughout the record. It’s strange, but it works. Although the album feels upbeat in nature, the lyrics are anything but. Dark, twisted, political and personal. All the songs tell a story of sorrow in some degree but each works in new and innovative ways.

‘Thunder’ has to be one of my favourite tracks. It’s slow, beginning with just a guitar rift then builds with a bass coming in followed by a slow, steady drumbeat. Halfway through Carter picks up his vocals, giving more of a cry to be heard. Then the beat picks up, with the guitar rift speeding up and the drums crashing before finally ending in an abrupt fashion. The song deals with immigration in the bleakest form, Carter bluntly saying:

They’re all mothers and fathers and children too/And you’re scared of them ’cause they don’t look like you.

‘Modern Ruin’ is also up there, and rightly should be considering it is the title track. It is relentless and powerful, not letting up from start to end. Carter himself stating that the song is a “defining hardcore song of a generation, I hope.” Moving from a huge electric guitar rift to a crash of all the instruments, Carter comes in screaming that everything we know and love is just modern ruin. It shies away from nothing and takes absolutely no prisoners.

‘Lullaby’ is another personal favourite, and the song you will likely hear on the radio as it’s a little tamer for new listeners. Don’t let it fool you though – the song is dark, grungy and everything a modern hardcore punk song should be. Heavy guitar riffs and loud crashing drums with Carter following up with dark lyrics to match: “I keep being woken/By screams and tears/Sheer f*****g terror/Ringing out in my ears.

Other notable mentions would be ‘Bluebelle’, the album’s opening track, which is a minute of slow calmness that does nothing to set the tone for the album but really shows off Carter’s versatile, softer voice. ‘Jackals’ is also another golden moment. 55 seconds of pure, relentless onslaught that is hard from start to end. The album’s close, ‘Neon Rust’, is something to be mentioned as well. Listening to the entire album then ending on this was unexpected but brilliant – a modern rock ballad that is still pure to hardcore punk fans.

Overall, the album is something you should check out if you are a fan of the genre or not. It is surprisingly easy listening given the hardcore nature and if anything should be listened to just to appreciate Carter’s singing, the band’s epic playing and the general tone of the album. Frank Carter, you have a new fan in me.

Rating: 4/5

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