Two years after Blossom, Frank Carter (ex-Gallows frontman) & The Rattlesnakes have released their latest offering, Modern Ruin. Stylistically, the record is a big step away from Carter’s previous projects – particularly Gallows – but it’s a shift that seems to have paid off.
This time around, most of the tracks have a generally alt-rock feel; the album is characterised by soaring, energetic choruses, relentless tempos, and (of course) red-hot fury. There are a couple of exceptions – one being the opening track, ‘Bluebelle’, which is composed around a simple but pretty riff and has an almost folky quality. Another is the title track, ‘Modern Ruin’, which sees Carter return to his hardcore roots – think screamo vocals and heavy shredding.
The record also takes on a political edge, proving once again that rock music can handle serious issues – violence, grief, prejudice – in a way that is both sensitive and furiously righteous. ‘Thunder’, for example, observes the horrors of war and xenophobia:
Murdered by the nameless
Killed in beds where they should be safest
They’re all mothers and fathers and children too
And you’re scared of them ’cause they don’t look like you
The album’s final track, ‘Neon Rust’, follows similar themes, and pairs dreamy (and occasionally distorted) guitar melodies with bleak, trance-like lyrics to create a piece of gloomy social commentary:
Don’t leave, there’s nothing out there to see
Everything is murdered, there’s no mystery
And history’s eyes, they have seen it all
It’s a Modern Ruin and we are responsible
However, with refrains such as Be anything you believe and We don’t belong in a wasteland, the track could also be taken as a fragile anthem for hope.
Overall, Modern Ruin is an ambitious, cathartic record that showcases the band’s versatility. They’ve paid homage to their roots, but have also begun to push their music in unexpected directions – something that they should be commended for.