Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes: Blossom
Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes
Alternative & IndiePunk...
Never let it be said that Frank Carter has forgotten his roots. The former frontman of hardcore revivalists, Gallows, raised some eyebrows in 2011 when he announced a new project with former The Hope Conspiracy guitarist, Jim Carroll, going by the name of Pure Love. The lighter garage rock style was a big change for the fanbase of a man who is known for his guttural screams and occasionally busting open his own forehead with a microphone. Suffice it to say, Carter’s new act, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, are something of a welcome return to form and their debut album, Blossom, shows that the ginger dynamo has lost none of his mojo.
Kicking off the first song and lead single, ‘Juggernaut’, with a burst of guitar noise, Carter brings the fury immediately. With lines like, “I walk and die on the stage every night,” this feels like something of an ode to his unpredictable and explosive stage presence (referring back to the aforementioned face self-flagellation). The breakdown in the middle of the track is timed to perfection, giving the song time to breathe and the tension time to build before a final chorus that shows Carter straining every vocal cord to its extreme. “Even on my own/You can’t stop me”. We certainly can’t Mr. Carter and wouldn’t even dream to.
After the opener, the fury is portioned out more sporadically with the two following tracks, ‘Trouble’ and ‘Fangs’ being a little lighter and more melodic. ‘Trouble’ is more Ty Segall than Suicidal Tendencies, with the garage rock side of Carter shining through and the verse sections of ‘Fangs’ not sounding out of place on a Wavves or FIDLAR record, having a vaguely surf rock vibe; but the choruses on what is probably the closest you’re ever going to get to a hardcore punk love song (although it might be more prudent to call it a lust song, with lyrics like “But I can't help but want to feel/ Your teeth against my skin/ If you got fangs them sink'em in”) bring that patented Fury™ back to the forefront.
Not every song is a winner though. ‘Although Devil Inside’ is by all means a competent hardcore tune, but finds itself falling into a bit of a lyrical cliché, not really being distractingly bad, but a bit of a disappointment after a very strong opening. However, the deep cut track, ‘Loss’ is a return to classic hardcore, sounding like a song that you would play over a 90s skate video, and that is high praise, believe you me.
Overall, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes’ Blossom does what every artist dreams of their new project doing; transcending previous work while still staying true to the roots. That’s not to say that there’s no evolution in style. The force is tapered back a little bit, possibly from the influence of Pure Love or a maturation of Carter himself (in fact, the song ‘Beautiful Death’ appears to be Carter growing up and letting go of the past), and the melodies are a little bit more, well, melodic. If you were a fan of Gallows, by all means, give the album a listen because it is one of the better hardcore punk albums of the year. But buyer beware – if you found yourself disappointed by Pure Love, then this record may rub you the wrong way.