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Album Review: Blossom by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes released their debut album Blossom this week. The latest project from Frank Carter is more akin to his work as lead singer of UK hardcore punks Gallows, yet it retains some of the more accessible traits of the more mainstream rock of Pure Love that followed his departure from Gallows.

On Blossom the ferociousness is back. That in your face anger and social commentary of early Gallows work makes a welcome return. That’s where the comparisons with Gallows should end though; the only real similarity is in Carter’s vocal style. Sure there’s punk aggression, but that comes solely from Carter, as The Rattlesnakes sound is has its roots in hard rock. They conjure up a vicious assault of heavy riffs, blistering drumbeats and grooves which complement Carter’s vocal perfectly.

It’s blatantly obvious that Blossom is the best piece of work by Carter. His time in Gallows was seminal and injected a new lease of life into UK punk and Pure Love showed that he could tame the aggression for something more conventional and accessible. In Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes it is as if the best of both worlds have been merged. You cannot overstate the impact of the musicianship of The Rattlesnakes here; the refined rock aggression comes out sounding like Queens Of The Stone Age minus the stoner elements with added steroids. Take ‘Juggernaut’ and ‘Fangs’ as prime examples, the obvious aggression in Carter’s vocal is complemented and both enhanced and smoothed by the music. The latent aggression in the music takes the form of elastic riffs that warp and blend around Carter to form the perfect broth.

Blossom shows that Carter has learnt from his time in Pure Love, it doesn’t have to be brutal vitriolic aggression all the time. Blend it with the right music and you’re onto a winner, ‘Devil Inside Me’ and ‘Paradise’ could be considered the most accessible songs on the album. The former has a slow burning energy that works wonderfully and the later sees Carter momentarily turning that snarl into conventional singing, it may be laced with hostility still, but it’s a welcome change. ‘Loss’ is an excellent song, riding that line between rock and full blown nihilistic punk the energy is intoxicating.

The real highlight comes in ‘Beautiful Death’. There’s so much emotion packed into its 4 minutes you cannot help but moved. Perfect in every way conceivable, from Carter’s incendiary vocal, through to the tender moments and over the crescendo of riffs and drums at the end it all comes together flawlessly. A similar vein is carried through to ‘Rotten Blossom’, death is confronted again this time however it takes a sense of hopeless and pure aggression.

Blossom ends in real style with two tracks of the highest calibre. ‘Primary Explosive’ gets the blood racing the thunderous riffs and groove complement Carter’s snarl in a way that makes you want to move and throw caution to the wind. The track stops at the 2 minute mark to build the aggression up in torrent of slow riffs and beats that segue their way into ‘I Hate You’ wonderfully. The laidback guitars and clean vocal defy the real tone and feel of the track. It’s an anthem for anyone who has been wronged and hurt by someone. Tremendous.

Blossom is undoubtedly Carter’s piece of work and an announcement that Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are a band ready to take the world on and drag the UK rock scene out of its comfort zone and inject new live. An essential listen.

AD Rating 9/10

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