I remember the first time that I heard Frank Carter. It was back when he was fronting Gallows. Upon the first spin of 2006’s Orchestra of Wolves, the jolt that 21st century punk music so desperately needed had been gleefully administered. Its controlled chaos evoked Amen’s self-titled debut, arguably one of the best punk records of the past 20 years, but there was this vicious vulnerability underneath it all. That element came from Carter. Maybe it was a nod to the post-punk emotionality of classic Brit Rock or a byproduct of the genre’s evolution…Nevertheless, his conviction felt as personal as it did palpable. That continued on Grey Britain in 2009. Seeing the tattooed firebrand on Warped Tour sealed the deal: this was punk in all of its brutal bloodletting glory. He struck out on his own following that second salvo with Gallows and introduced us to Blossom in 2015. Now, Carter’s enigmatic energy gets amplified on his second-full length album with The Rattlesnakes Modern Ruin.
Where Gallows exorcised visions of Amen, Modern Ruin siphons the spirit of Queens of the Stone Age through the angular riffage and melodies of Arctic Monkeys’ AM. In tow with The Rattlesnakes–Dean Richardson [guitar], Thomas Mitchener [bass], and Gareth Grover [drums]–Carter gives rock ‘n’ roll a similar shot in the arm. Sure, the likes of “Bluebelle” brandish a punk-ish delivery, but there’s a swaggering, sly attitude to “Lullaby” that’d practically rip up the Coachella grounds–if the fest had the balls to book Carter, that is. It’s this element of underlying unpredictability that defines Modern Ruin from “Vampires” through “Neon Rust.”
Modern Ruin lives up to its title. By combining explosive beats, impressive guitars, and Carter’s seismically dynamic delivery, it deconstructs everything that modern alternative is. We don’t hear guitar-and-vocal chemistry like this anymore from new acts on either side of the pond. That’s what makes Modern Ruin so vital. Just like Orchestra of Wolves was so welcome for punk, Modern Ruin does the same thing for today’s rock ‘n’ roll.
Like some sort of tattooed global troubadour, Carter arrives again with a bang to save the day and sink his venomous fangs into history once a more.