Album review: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – End of Suffering

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes - End of Suffering album cover

It’s been a decade since Frank Carter, then front man of hardcore-punk outfit Gallows released the utterly-brilliant Grey Britain. It’s been a funny old 10 years for him since, musically speaking.

After leaving Gallows in 2011 citing musical differences, he had a decent crack at more radio friendly alt-rock with Pure Love before returning with current project Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes.

Debut album ‘Blossom’ signalled a return to the snarling angry, screaming Carter we had grown to love in Gallows. Songs on fear of death, songs of hate and anger – all delivered with Carter’s trademark vocal yell. One track, ‘Paradise’, even recording him spitting on the floor during a moment of quiet as he railed against those who matryr themselves in the name of religion.

Second album ‘Modern Ruin’ showed a more tender side, less screaming but still delivered with enough bite to keep fans of his edgier side on board.

However, latest release End of Suffering has seen Carter go all out stadium rock on us. The punky aggression of the debut album has gone completely, as has Carter’s snarling vocal style, replaced by what can only be described as a fairly average croon. We’ve seen this vocal style before on previous albums, especially with Pure Love, but it has normally been balanced out with more spiker stuff.

There’s little of that on show here. The closest he comes is on Crowbar, where at one point he almost sounds angry and manages to throw in a few swear words here and there.

The rest of the album is fairly standard, though competent, heavy rock. Not necessarily any better or worse than a Muse or a Manic Street Preachers.

Having seen Carter live before, his sets are full of energy and agression. How the slew of slower, softer songs on this album, such as Anxiety, Angel Wings, Supervillain, Little Devil and title track End of Suffering, fit into these gigs I’m unsure (they are playing The Great Escape fesitval next weekend, so I might drop by and find out).

During Kitty Sucker, one of the livelier moments of the album, Carter bellows out ‘I’m a punk rock renegade’. Maybe once Frank, but I ain’t feeling it no more.

Release date: 03 May 2019

Rating: 5/10

Standout track: Crowbar

For fans of:

  • Manic Street Preachers
  • Royal Blood
  • Gallows

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New Music Friday 03 May – The pick of the latest album releases

Get your ear plugs ready, it looks like this week’s pick of the new releases could be loud. We’ve got former Gallows front man Frank Carter with the third studio release from his Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes project. There’s also a reissue of the impossible to find debut from post-punkers Protomatyr and a debut from Swedish noise outfit Viagra Boys. Other forms of music are available (and some even feature in the list below).

Spotify playlist at the bottom.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – End of Suffering

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Protomatyr – No Passion All Technique

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Viagra Boys – Street Worms

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Flamingods – Leviation

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Versing – 10000

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Barrie – Happy to Be Here

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The Dream Syndicate – These Times

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Drahla – Useless Coordinates

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Saint Agnes – Welcome to Silvertown

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Wolfmanhatten Project – Blue Gene Stew

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Filthy Friends – Emerald Valley

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

The best albums of April 2019

1: The Chemical Brothers – No Geography

Rating: 9/10 – Read full review

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2: Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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3: JAWS – The Ceiling

Rating: 7.5/10 – Read full review

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4: Priests – The Seduction Of Kansas

Rating: 7.5/10

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5: W. H. Lung – Incidental Music

Rating: 7.5/10

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6: Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Sacred Dreams

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

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7: Cowboy Flying Saucer– Travel Lodge

Rating: 7/10

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8: Ifriqiyya Electrique – Laylet El Booree

Rating: 7/10

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9: Lowly – Hifalutin

Rating: 7/10

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10: Various artists – For The Throne (Music Inspired by the HBO Series Game of Thrones)

Rating: 7/10Read full review

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26 April releases – Reviewed and rated

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation beat the not-too-stiff competition this week, while Game of Thrones pulled off yet anther of its trademark shockers by not producing a complete disaster of a pop album.

Spotify playlist at the bottom.

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Sacred Dreams

A psychadelic trip through the realms of electro-pop and lazy, hazy country blues desertscapes.

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

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Various Artists – For The Throne (Music Inspired by the HBO Series Game of Thrones)

A collection of pop tunes based on the smash TV series. Provides an absolute shocker by not being a complete disaster.

Rating: 7/10Read full review

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Otoboke Beaver – Itekoma Hits

Spiky Japanese girl-punk. It’s sometimes tricky to follow the thread of the tracks but satisfyingly aggressive at times.

Rating: 6.5/10

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The Cranberries – In The End

Emotional farewell from the band that carries many of the sounds that made them famous, but with a more mature and sombre edge.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Mammoth Penguins – There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win

Catchy indie-pop from this Cambridgeshire tiro, but the hooks and vocals fail to set the band apart from their many contemporaries.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky – Droneflower

Initally promising sparse and atmospheric folk-rock, but the album fails to kick on as hoped.

Rating: 6/10

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Catfish & The Bottlemen – The Balance

Radio-friendly indie rock, not unpleasant to listen to, but hardly inspiring.

Rating: 6/10

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Guided By Voices – Warp and Woof

24 songs in 37 minutes on this soft alt-rock album with the occasional hint of Bowie and country.

Rating: 6/10

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Bear’s Den – So that you might hear me

Bland indie-folk, heard it a thousand times before.

Rating: 5/10

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

Album of the week (26 April): Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Sacred Dreams

This is the third studio album from Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation, and while it’s not a perfect piece of pop, there’s enough sophistication here to make it stand out from the rest of this week’s releases.

Sacred Dreams takes us through the realms of electro-pop and lazy, hazy country blues desertscapes – all with a dash of psychedelia thrown in.

The album does feel a little front loaded, as most of the best moments feature early on. Opener Feel The Sun borrows heavily on the Goldfrapp model of crowd-pleasing blissful pop. Then follows an unnecessarily early keyboard and effect laden interlude before we are hit with standout track I Can Feel It, featuring a pounding bass drum, incessant keyboard tones and layered harmonics. The hypnotic chorus is fabulous.

The danceable electro-pop theme continues with Desire, Öhrn’s breathy vocal style working particularly well here with the french lyrics in the verses.

The second act of the album signals a change of pace – Hey Little Boy is a slower track with a country blues feel to the guitar work, though there’s still a hint of pulsating synth to be found.

Only Lovers leans heavily on a spacious folky acoustic guitar to match the echo-laden vocal and moves away from the beat-driven tracks before it. The tempo ups slightly with Baby Come On, a blues-rock number featuring some interesting keyboard work and good layering of sound.

However, things start to get a little flabby towards the end. New Horizons is a fairly standard low-key pop number, while Let It Come and Whatever You Want don’t really add anything extra.

The main saving grace of the latter part of the album is Caramel Head, that uses lazy, hazy slide guitar to let you drift away to another plane.

It’s not going to be my album of the year, or even the month, but I reckon some of these tracks will stay with me for some time.

Release date: 26 April 2019

Rating: 7.5/10

Standout track: I Can Feel It

For fans of:

  • Goldfrapp
  • Lorelle Meets The Obselete
  • Ladytron

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Album review: Various artists – For The Throne (Music Inspired By The HBO Series Game Of Thrones)

For The Throne album cover

First things first – I really enjoyed ‘The Long Night’. [SPOILER ALERT] It might have been dark in places, surely that was the point, and it might have brought one major element of the story to an end sooner than many had expected but as a piece of event TV it was simply brilliant.

Right, back to the music. For The Throne is not a soundtrack featuring music from the series, rather a collection of songs from a range of artists that have taken elements of the series as their inspiration for tracks.

As musical rosters go, there’s quite a few well-known names on here, such as Mumford & Sons, Ellie Goulding, The National, SZA, and The Lumineers, to name but a few. Stylistically, the over-arching theme is pop in its many guises. Think of it as a ‘Now! That’s What I Call Game of Thrones‘ if you will.

With all that said, the potential for this to be disastrous is huge, but actually it’s carried off quite well. There are some good, atmospheric folky numbers such as opener Kingdom of One by Maren Morris, and Love Can Kill from Lennon Stella. This is interspersed with hip-hop and R&B pop from the likes of Ellie Goulding, SZA and the providers of the album’s standout track Chloe x Halle.

While never straying away from its poppy heart we do get some different styles in the form of some Gospel-pop similar to Rag ‘n Bone Man from X Ambassadors a bit of latino salsa from Rosalia and the faint whiff of rock from Lil Peep.

Regrettably there’s no ‘Hands of Gold’ as sung by Ed Sheeran from his universally panned cameo in season seven. To make up for it, they instead closed the album with Muse front man Matt Bellamy providing us with his usual bombast and over-earnestness while singing over a prayer in High Valaerian. We would expect nothing less.

It’s not an instant classic, but is enjoyable and as it largely stays away from laying on the GoT references too thickly, it can be enjoyed by most anyone. It’s also much shorter than an average episode so doesn’t outstay its welcome. Well worth a try if you like your pop and dragons.

Release date: 26 April 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: Wolf at Your Door

For fans of:

  • Mumford & Sons
  • The National
  • SZA

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New Music Friday 26 April – The pick of the latest album releases

A few more items of interest here than last week. Really looking forward to the new one from Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation after being impressed by their performance at Mutations Festival earlier this year. There’s also an emotional release from The Cranberries, completed after the untimely death of lead singer Dolores O’Riordan. I’ve literally no idea what I’m going to make of the Game of Thrones-inspired collection of artists on For The Throne, but it may be good for a laugh. Hope Ed Sheeran‘s little ditty is on there.

Spotify playlist at the bottom.

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Sacred Dreams

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The Cranberries – In The End

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Various Artists – For The Throne (Music Inspired by the HBO Series Game of Thrones)

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Catfish & The Bottlemen – The Balance

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Otoboke Beaver – Itekoma Hits

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Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky – Droneflower

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Guided By Voices – Warp and Woof

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Mammoth Penguins – There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win

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Bear’s Den – So that you might hear me

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

19 April releases – Reviewed and rated

Apologies, no full reviews this week, due to a lack of time and inspiration. Ultimately the albums released last week didn’t get me over-excited. I had high hopes for Loyle Carner‘s sophomore Not Waving, But Drowning, but ultimately it felt a little one-dimensional stylistically. If I were to pick out an album of the week, it would probably be Happy Now by post-punk veterans Gang of Four, but there’s not much in it to be honest. Hopefully this week’s batch will be better.

Gang Of Four – Happy Now

This is the ninth proper studio album from these post-punk veterans, feels a little tired but still has some good moments.

Rating: 6.5/10 – Album of the Week

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Leafcutter John – Yes! Come Parade With Us

Sometimes interesting electronica but failed to hit the spot consistently.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Heather Woods Broderick – Invitation

Nice ethereal singer-songwriting here, but just nice rather than impressive.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Loyle Carner – Not Waving, But Drowning

An enjoyable slice of laid-back hip-hop but lacking in musical diversity.

Rating: 6/10

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Cage The Elephant – Social Cues

American indie-rock with a few quality tracks interspersed – but not enough to grab your attention long-term.

Rating: 6/10

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Fat White Family – Serfs Up!

An album of initial promise from these south-London rockers, but unfortunately soon disappears up its own arse.

Rating: 5.5/10

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Stealing Sheep – Big Wows

Fluffy electro and indie pop that didn’t really do it for me.

Rating: 5/10

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New Music Friday 19 April – What to listen to

Here’s hoping it’s a ‘Good Friday’ for new releases – natch. Hip-hop artist Loyle Carner releases the follow-up to his Mercury-nominated debut album, while Cage The Elephant and Stealing Sheep also look to have a bit about them. I’ll review and see if they’ve got any substance to their releases.

Spotify playlist at the bottom.

Loyle Carner – Not Waving, But Drowning

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Cage The Elephant – Social Cues

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Stealing Sheep – Big Wows

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Gang Of Four – Happy Now

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Fat White Family – Serfs Up!

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Leafcutter John – Yes! Come Parade With Us

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Heather Woods Broderick – Invitation

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.

12 April releases – Reviewed and rated

No surprises that The Chemical Brothers take top slot this week, though it was surprisingly good. Also highly impressive was the debut from Dublin post-punk rockers Fontaines D.C.

Playlist at the bottom.

The Chemical Brothers – No Geography

The Chems are back at the top of their game with this corker of disco, soul, funk and acid-infused album.

Rating: 9/10Read full review

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Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel

A brilliant post-punk album with a hint of Irish folk to it, only let down on occasion by a slightly strained vocal.

Rating: 8/10Read full review

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Ifriqiyya Electrique – Laylet El Booree

Bonkers mix of traditional African music and heavy metal. Loved it.

Rating: 7/10

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Lowly – Hifalutin

Dreamy synth-pop with a bit of cleverness to it. Immersive and pretty impressive.

Rating: 7/10

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Glen Hansard – The Wild Willing

Interesting alt-folk with some soaring experimental flourishes. Worthy of a listen.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Big Business – The Beast You Are

Heavy alt-rock, that’s not really pushing any creative boundaries.

Rating: 5.5/10

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Here’s a playlist of all of the above if you want to listen to this week’s selected new releases.