End of Suffering by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Album Review
By David Schuster
End of Suffering, the latest album from Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, feels like the completion of a trilogy: If you take notice of Wikipedia, their genre is described as ‘Punk Rock’. However, whereas their debut, Blossom, majored on the first of those two words and the follow up, Modern Ruin, blended aspects of both, this focuses solidly on the latter.
The opening track ‘Why a Butterfly Can’t Love a Spider’ conveniently epitomises the entire record with its dramatic rock pomposity, recalling early Muse. “When I’m high-i-i I’m in heaven. When I’m low-o-o, I’m in hell”, belts out Frank, power chords underlining the dramatic delivery of the vocals.
As Yoda would have said (if he’d been a music critic), “Strong is the force of the Arctic Monkeys is this band”. ‘Latex Dream’, with its bouncing bass riff and ultra-smooth rhythm guitar, ‘Kitty Sucker’ the third single to be released from the disc and especially ‘Little Devil’, all sound like The Rattlesnakes are channelling the spirit of Alex Turner.
“Punk roots shine through”
There’s a rich vein of musical heritage evident here. The instruments and production give End of Suffering an indie rock feel, in the same ball park as the Foo Fighters or The Strokes, but these millennial rockers (as the Arctic Monkeys pointed out to their credit), owe a large debt of gratitude to vintage rock legends, such as Black Sabbath. There is, for example, a fantastic, old-school, over the top guitar solo from Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, guesting on ‘Tyrant Lizard King’. Indeed, this feels so much like a tribute to Blue Oyster Cult‘s 1977 single ‘Godzilla’, that you could exchange the two on their respective albums without either jarring, despite being recorded more than 40 years apart!
By far the best tracks are those where the group’s punk roots shine through, for example the simple snare drum beat and fast, clever lyrics of ‘Heartbreaker’, a classic angry love song: “I think I love you and it’s tearing me apart, because the problems that we both have, they are problems of the heart”. ‘Crowbar’ hits the sweet spot too; “If it goes against who you think you are, it’s the death of happiness. Go and get the crowbar”. Words that epitomise the eternal angst of youth striving for individuality against the pressure to conform.
It’s ironic then that that this record is so easy to draw comparisons from; not necessarily a bad thing, just not unique. ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Supervillain’ are both strongly reflective of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, back when they were at the top of their game. ‘Anxiety’ though is different, and in a good way. It starts with an extended guitar note, just at the edge of hearing. Through the song this gradually builds, both in volume and aggression, very successfully providing a growing feeling of oppression and paranoia until it’s a tsunami of white noise, ending so abruptly that the silence afterwards feels immense.
Seen as the closure of a three-album musical odyssey from punk band to rock group, End of Suffering is a satisfying conclusion. It’s well-crafted and slickly delivered but, like the final season of Game of Thrones, ultimately not very exciting. Let’s turn the dial back a notch or two Frank; a bit more punk, and a bit less rock, please.