Album Review: Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin

By on Tuesday, 31st January 2017 at 12:00 pm

We love a bit of Frank Carter here on TGTF. Well, I do at least, so a new album from Carter’s best project to date – Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – was always going to cause a bit of excitement. But was it worth all this getting hot and bothered over? Absolutely.

‘Modern Ruin’ presents Carter and co. at their absolute best, Carter displaying the full length of his ability. Interestingly for music from the man, it’s a far cry from a brutal incessant constant attack: it ebbs and flows like a good record should. For instance, take the album opener ‘Bluebelle’, a reserved and slow track dredged in reverb with Carter singing softly below the music. You wouldn’t expect this approach to begin a second album, but it works a treat because come track two, ‘Lullaby’, the brute force of The Rattlesnakes is put into action. Written to his daughter, musically its not quite as aggressive as much as it is melodically encapsulating. But lyrically Carter creates a personal touch that you probably would never have expected from him.


‘Snake Eyes’ is another powerful attack, but with a bit more spirited life to its lyrics, such as the contextualising line in the choruses, “what did I do last night and will I be ashamed?”. It should be noted Carter’s lyrics mostly come from larger stories that he writes, so this isn’t Carter necessarily exposing a sordid lifestyle, though also it may very well be. The idea of a writer is to paint a vivid picture that blends both reality and fiction, something he definitely has nailed down. Carter has the ability to craft words that are both violent yet deeply seductive, brutal with an edge that you just can’t help but fall for.

While this trend continues through ‘Vampires’, it’s on ‘Wild Flowers’ where the loving assault kicks up a notch. It’s super melodic in the chorus and the lyrics are particularly romantic, a strange concept if you’re used to Carter’s back catalogue with Gallows and Pure Love, but it flows so naturally. ‘Acid Veins’ and ‘God is My Friend’ are a bit closer to what you would’ve come to expect from a natural follow up to the Rattlesnakes’ 2015 debut album ‘Blossom’, if that’s what you’re really looking for. But that’s not what this album is about. This album is about Carter doing whatever he wants because he can, and we love it. What we’re hearing is his fully formed ideas coming to life with the power and focus of a freight train.


After the two previous tracks, there’s just a little bit more absolute savagery in less-than-a-minute long ‘Jackals’, which is a torrent of drums before breaking into a rapid punk track and then simply stopping. Perfectly placed, this small brash punk attack takes us nicely into the more developed Rattlesnakes sound. Concerning the war-torn state of the world, with poignant lyrics such as “killed in beds where they should be safest, they’re all mothers and fathers and children too” and “I’ve seen a woman buried to her neck, stoned for disbelief, I’ve seen a man thrown from a tower because he loved another man” show Carter will not only approach the harder-hitting topics but will call out all the bull the rest of the world idly lets happen. Soundtracked by a building crescendo, the power behind the words is met by the band’s aggression. Straight after this, he hits us again with another emotive wrecking ball in ‘Real Life’. It’s soon one-upped by title ‘Modern Ruin’, a fast paced track with Carter at his best: screaming and backed by music faster than you can say the word ‘brutal’.

Album closer ‘Neon Rust’ is perhaps the icing on this solid cake. It’s a tune that begins in the most reserved way of all of them on this record, with Carter’s vocals being tender to the point of unrecognizable. However, they build into a crashing repetitive post-chorus, with Carter howling, “we don’t belong in a wasteland”. The album ’Modern Ruin’ is perhaps the best encapsulation of the last few years in the real world. Filled with frank (no pun intended) lyricism and crashing music, it’s a solid album that deserves to be marked as Carter’s magnum opus. Though he’ll surely come back even stronger, it’s important enough to be taken as a stamp of our social time.


‘Modern Ruin’ by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes is out now on International Death Cult via Kobalt Label Services. For more on Carter and his band on TGTF, including an interview Steven did with Carter at Leefest 2016, go here.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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