Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are Putting the Bite Back into Punk

Credit: Metal Hammer

“There’s a big gaping hole for real true punk rock at the minute.” So spoke former Gallows and Pure Love frontman Frank Carter to Radio 1’s Daniel Carter. One needs only take a look at the heavy rock and hardcore scenes in the UK to begrudgingly agree with him, too. It’s for this reason that as a fan of punk rock – the acerbic, poison-spitting and often violent kind, not the pop-punk kind – I’m more than happy to see Frank Carter return to his roots with his new act Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes.

Carter and his then-bandmates in Gallows exploded on the punk scene in the UK in 2007, gaining notoriety for their intense confrontation of society’s issues and for their aggressive and out of control live shows. In the midst of it all was Carter, whose raw screaming and ferocious growl gave the UK a true modern punk icon.

It was not just for his devotion to punk – often typified by his willingness to get involved in violent mosh pits and fights at his shows – that Carter symbolised the epitome of the genre. His lyrics explored dark themes that often epitomised the epitaph given to Britain by the conservative government: “Broken Britain”. From date rape, misogyny, street violence and social anxiety to the futility of the rat race, Carter created a catalogue of tracks that brimmed with biting social commentary as well as raw guitar riffs and caustic vocals.

Gallows would go on to draw criticism by signing a £1 million deal with Warner, leading to many to point out the hypocrisy of their anti-establishment message. Perhaps it was down to this that the band’s unity fractured, especially as Carter began to experiment with a more mellow sound.

Carter and his bandmates parted ways and he formed Pure Love, a band more focused on straight-edge rock than punk. While Pure Love had its fans and praise, the project always seemed like a stop-gap, something to tide Carter over before he launched himself back into what he knew best.

Now in 2015, at the head of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Carter has rediscovered his powerful, heart-stopping style. From only a scant few tracks on the act’s debut EP “Rotten” the old Carter can be heard breaking back out again, railing against both the issues he writes about and against the limitations a studio recording imposes on his powerful vocal delivery. Every song is a glorious assault on the senses, so unstoppable that it almost demands repeated listening.

From the bitter, crawling riffs of “Fangs” and the furious decrying of martyrdom in “Paradise” to the rasping, emotionally-charged finale of “Primary Explosive”, Carter demonstrates a refined, sharpened iteration of the man who burst onto the scene in 2007. He’s still covered in spiralling tattoos, still sporting the same half-manic stage persona, but he is all in all a different animal entirely – an animal ready to tear at throat of the punk scene.

Music and Relationships

It’s just that feeling of being transported somewhere, four months ago or two years ago, when you felt a whole different way. It reminds you of times when you were phenomenally happy and of others when you were so sad. You’re like “I don’t want to be here why is this song doing this to me?” It just floods inside of you and it’s overwhelming – you suddenly think of that person and you’re like “oh god I miss them so much” and then you’re like “wait no I don’t I just love this song” It’s incredible and horrible that a bunch of words and a melody can make you feel that way.

– Johnny Foreigner, concret1

Music can have a strange way of being imprinted into your life. There are moments in my life that will forever be conjured up by just one song, whether it be reminiscing about something not so long ago as University or something quite a long time ago like holidays in my teens or bonfires in summer.

Invariably, as has been proved by the thousands of love-songs that are churned out into the charts, as well as all that awful poetry / songs that angsty teenagers (myself included) write, music and relationships go hand in hand. There have been songs in my life that I refused to listen to because they reminded me of a person I’d rather not remember.

I’d like to think that at the age of 23 I’ve become a little bit mature, and can look back and listen to some of those tracks and enjoy them for what they are, as well as who they remind me of. In a sort of boyfriends I have been way, some of the songs I look back now and wonder what I was thinking about when I dated that person or even listened to that type of music.

I thought, for the sake of posterity and giving people an idea of how easy it can be to relate certain songs to people/events, I’d list them. To protect people’s privacy I won’t be using names, but they are in order from earliest to latest.

1.  NeYo – So Sick

This one makes me chuckle every time I listen to it. I’ve never really been into RnB but I was young back then, I think we danced to this song at my school dance or something. Still surprises when it (admittedly rarely) comes on the radio. Extra points for it being a song about relating songs to people, too!

2. 30 Seconds to Mars – The Kill

Deep into my angsty phase here, hence the penchant for bands including Jared Leto and shouting. Another relatively bitter song, too, which I have only just noticed, I hope this isn’t a trend.

3. Bloc Party – Flux

This is my ultimate throwback song. This one has some pretty vivid memories for me in a classic “what could have been” scenario.

4.The National – All the Wine

Back into being angsty, but this time its white-hot man-angst. This song is actually still pretty painful to listen to, I get a little knot in my stomach whenever I hear those first guitar strings go. A song about getting hammered, as well, so I’m doing well on the “definitely not bitter” side of things…

5. Bombay Bicycle Club – How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep

It was a toss up between this one and another song, but this one wins simply because it actually makes me smile. Not very often you can fully think back at a relationship (that’s not a silly high-school one) and feel happy about it, even though it ended.

So there’s five that cause me the most nostalgia. There are of course a number of other for smaller events in my life, but it goes to show how a varied selection of songs can have such different meanings to just one person. I imagine if I came back to do this when I hit thirty I’ll have plenty more songs to feature. It’s been interesting to go back and revisit these songs too, there are some memories that should never be locked away forever.

Companies are singular

Companies are singular

Companies are singular

Companies are singular

Everyone has their bugbears in writing I guess. Mine is pluralism. Having been editor and writer for a music magazine for three years in university, I spent so much of my time drilling the fact that bands are plural into my head that I now find it hard to switch out of that mode of writing. Most of the time I’ll get it right, but at the end of the day I will usually catch myself slipping back into it with a quick Ctrl+F search.

I have a little sticker on my monitor to order me to search for “have, are, they, their” whenever I finish to stop myself, but some still slip through. I’m better than I was, when untold numbers would slide through to the annoyance of my editors. Who knows, if I end up at another music magazine I might get chewed out for always making bands singular when they should be plural!

Practice makes perfect, as they say.

Music showcase: The Dear Hunter

I have quite a lot of music. It’s not necessarily a good thing, and it’s not something I try to brag about. Mainly due to the fact that I have so much crammed into my media player that I don’t really get a chance to listen to half of it. Occasionally a song will pop up that I like the sound of and I have to go trawling through the endless list of titles until I find something that sounded vaguely like a chorus.

It wasn’t really so when I first heard this band though. The Dear Hunter had been on my media player for a long time. I had recognised the lead singer as Casey Crescenzo, who had been a part of one of my favourite bands ever, The Receiving End of Sirens.

The Dear Hunter write haunting, beautiful sings that are lyrically very impressive. The mainstay of their success has been based around the Ms Leading saga, where the band tells the tale of a hapless Orphan trying to discover love and his family during the First World War.

It’s Casey’s voice that entrances listeners, though. His vocals have become increasingly phenomenal after he left TREOS, and he even sounds far better live, where his vocals can truly be unleashed. See the video below for just how good his voice is.

There really are too many songs for me to properly showcase here. I would whole-heartedly recommend a listen of their songs on YouTube. The range of genres the band cover is also incredible.

The Dear Hunter are releasing a reprise of new album ‘Migrant’ and are touring Europe in 2014.

My top 5 remixes of 2013

I spend a lot of my time listening to indie music. What I also like to dabble in are remixes of said genre. Indie can be a very varied music style, and seeing what DJs can come up with the songs is a great exploration. Sometimes they can sound jilted, but sometimes someone gets it just right. So here’s my top 5 and what I’ve been listening to the most over the past year.*

5. Alt-J – Fiztpleasure (Betatraxx Remix)

I’m not a big fan of slow beats or dub-style tracks. But this remix just has everything and only adds to Alt-J’s ethereal style.

4. Of Monster and Men – Yellow Light (Cillo Remix)

I listen to a lot of Cillo’s remixes, he has such a liquid sound that makes nearly everything he touches chilled out.

3. Bombay Bicycle Club – How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep (Voyeur Remix)

This song holds a lot of memories for me, so I keep coming back to it. This remix adds a great twist to the beat.

2. R Kelly ft. The Hood Internet – I’m A Flirt (vs. Broken Social Scene Remix)

Such a weird mash-up remix of a RnB artist and a band playing in 5/8 timing. It just works, and always make me smile.

1. Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks (The Knocks Remix)

I’m a sucker for Of Monsters and Men, but that’s not why this is #1. This remix is the perfect example of how to take a song and completely rework it. Knocks changed it from a folky-ballad into a funky dance tune.

*Remix doesn’t have to be made in 2013

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