Since leaving Gallows Frank Carter has struggled to make up his mind. First he was fed up of singing about hate and would never do hardcore again. Then, after a brief flirtation with the underwhelming Pure Love, he seemed to change his mind and is now back in the hardcore groove, with Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. Their debut album, Blossom, sees him try to recapture the magic that made Gallows one of the most exciting bands on the planet.
Which to a certain extent it does, opener ‘Juggernaut’ lives up to its name and is a real chugger of a song. Banging along with little regard for its surroundings. Carter himself sounds good, that slight whine in his vocals giving it an attitude that makes you think he’s likely to spit in your face. However, throughout the album it quickly becomes clear that his days in Pure Love haven’t left him completely unchanged. On songs like ‘Trouble’ and ‘Devil Inside Me’ there’s some real melody to his clean vocals, something which adds a little bit of an extra sheen to proceedings.
Despite that, this album does have the feel of a homecoming. This is Carter going back to doing what Carter does best. It’s jam packed with big hardcore songs and his acidic wit scattered throughout. The whole things sounds like it was recorded in someone’s bedroom and that scuzzy feeling gives tracks like ‘Fangs’ a real edge. While ‘Paradise’ peels back halfway through to allow Carter’s vocals to come to the front. As he proclaims that ‘if there is a paradise up in the sky, I hope you never get to see it when you die’ his vocals get more and more unhinged and it’s easily his strongest performance on the album.
Those here purely as Gallows fan will find plenty to get their teeth into. Both ‘Loss’ and the frantic ‘Rotten Blossom’ would have been at home on either Carter led Gallows albums. Yet it’s when he’s tweaking the formula that he is at his best. ‘Beautiful Death’, which starts melancholic and throughout its run time leaps from sedate to full-blown angst on more than one occasion, is just a much more interesting song and shows that even in returning to his roots, Carter doesn’t have to give up creativity.
Closer ‘I Hate You’ does very much what it says on the tin and suggests that Carter’s wish to no longer sing about hate is well behind him. Blossom is a return to form, or at the very least hardcore form, and while all the focus will be on Carter, it’s clear he’s assembled a decent band behind him. It’s a hardcore album that strikes back to his time in Gallows and also points towards the future and let’s just hope this time he decides to stick around.