Modern Ruin sees the return of former Gallows/Pure Love singer Frank Carter, where he offers an effortlessly resounding and powerful return that delves further afield into the hardcore genre from their 2015 debut. Carter shows no difficulty in demonstrating soothingly harsh bursts of energy from the minute the album starts, with the first track ‘Bluebell’ being a stoic ballad which layers sombre, insightful lyrics over an electric reverbed guitar. ‘Vampires’ shows how they have solidified their cult figure presence on the indie scene with added exploration on their intense boundaries and thought provoking lyrics to both Carter’s state of mind and the state of the world. We see passionate comments made on one of the more disturbing headlines of 2016 concerning the refugee crisis: “I see a baby lying face down in the tide / And I see thousands of souls begging for their f**king lives.” It’s promising to see punk artists include political themes without sounding like a sellout, and Carter’s distinctive vocal performance gives a heavy punch to the haunting world we live in today. Modern Ruin has filled in that hole in your playlist that you hadn’t realised was missing until you stumble across the title track; one of their defining anthems which effectively embodies the boys’ punk, rowdiness and unruly sonics.
With repetitive rhythms, screeching guitars and fierce vocals, there’s always the risk of sounding one-dimensional and slightly lacklustre (ahem, Slaves, looking at you here). But. The Rattlesnakes have managed to successfully channel all their personality and adrenalised energy without letting their second album become unlistenable, weary or fatigued – but the opposite in fact. The palatable rock melodies make for an easy listen for any non-hardcore fans. There are even subtle nostalgic feels to early Arctic Monkeys work when listening to ‘Snake Eyes’. We also get the contrast between the relentless, wild outbursts and the drowsy, delirious rare moments which creates depth and allows the listener to have a bit of a breather – but not for long as we immediately get immersed into ‘Real Life’. This track is possibly the epitome of their contained madness and you can feel that they’re testing the waters on how much noise they can make. The lyrics aren’t Pulitzer-award winning, and they’re not meant to be either – Modern Ruin seeks to be an album where they lay bare everything they’ve got and display their gritty and passionate character. Carter’s past project, Pure Love, was more conservative and pop-like, so the album is, more than anything, a fulfilling return to Carter’s furiously tortured roots. There’s no polished finish; no perfect composition; no cohesive texture, but carefully treads the line between this and becoming dull and unadventurous – which is a real testimony to the punk framework the album is produced within.
This new release from Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes has met the benchmark for all the new unapologetically loud bands out there. And this isn’t even them at their full potential.