ARTIST: FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES
TITLE: END OF SUFFERING
LABEL: INTERNATIONAL DEATH CULT
WORDS: BECTON SIMPSON
In building up the hype ‘End Of Suffering’, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes described it as “our third and most important record”. This was followed by a series of smaller, more intimate shows which teased at some of the tracks, hinting they may well be right in their estimations of the record. The three singles released were all very different from one another. ‘Crowbar’ an angsty romper about not wanting to be told what to do, about “being yourself and not allowing anybody to tell you who you are”, while more recent release ‘Kitty Sucker’ is almost an antithesis of this, an infectiously catchy love song celebrating being two halves of the same and not being able to survive without one another. And then there’s ‘Anxiety’, of course, an emotionally charged on-the-nose ballad type number addressing mental health issues and the need to fight through them. And then finally, at midnight on 3rd May, the whole record dropped and we were able to piece these various parts of the puzzle together.
‘End Of Suffering’ is a story encompassing two years of Frank Carter’s life, so it’s understandable that many of the songs are going to come from different places, different snapshots, emotions and moments on that journey. There’s ups, there’s downs and there’s reflective in betweens, and that’s demonstrated very effectively not only through the lyrics but musically too.
“There’s ups, there’s downs and there’s reflective in betweens, demonstrated very effectively not only through the lyrics but musically too.”
You might be expecting a raucous rocking guitar driven opener to kick start the album, but that’s definitely not what we have with ‘Why A Butterfly Can’t Love A Spider’. Although it kicks in with some satisfying, thick sounding guitars that’s not till the two minute marker and at its heart, this track is more like a stripped back, rhythmic power ballad.
‘Tyrant Lizard King’ is more of a rock number but with a T-Rex edge, appropriately. It’s got those glam, glitzy sounding guitars and driving bass, and has already become a staple of their live set, as has ‘Heartbreaker’, which has all the elements you might want and expect from a Frank Carter song and sounds very similar to the sound on previous record ‘Modern Ruin’, sort of feeling like a bridge between the two albums.
‘Love Games’ starts off sounding like another standard Frank Carter record. The typical melody line and vocal intonation that makes him immediately recognisable, but then it throws in a bit of a curveball in the form of a piano driven bridge and chorus, which gives a totally differnet vibe and feel to the track. It’s the piano that ends the song too, both haunting and satisfying. If there’s a contender for fourth single off the album it’s surely this one, having the potential to crossover into the pop market as well as vibing with the alternative crowd.
“what they’re showing here is development. This isn’t the same Rattlesnakes you might remember from ‘Blossom’.”
When Frank talked about the album being ‘important’, he wasn’t wrong. Not only does it show the band’s own musical development, and Frank’s personal development, it also addresses some important issues, in the aforementioned ‘Anxiety’ and also ‘Angel Wings’, a song which unashamedly discusses Frank’s battle with depression, prescription drugs and suicidal thoughts. It’s a difficult, painful track to listen to, and will possibly be tough for him to play live although it would be a powerful one to hear in a live environment. This is the one that makes you cry, as will final title track ‘End Of Suffering’. It’s probably the slowest song on the album, with another stripped back approach, just a simple acoustic guitar and a piano low down in the mix, dominated mostly by Frank’s pained vocals, singing about how he misses his daughter when he’s away on tour. It’s a beautiful song and a fitting way to end what is a beautiful, thought provoking and interesting album.
The Rattlesnakes have reached a crucial point in their career. That tricky third album. But what they’re showing here is development. This isn’t the same Rattlesnakes you might remember from ‘Blossom’. The songwriting and the ability to construct a song and understand the concepts of light and shade in music is far more advanced. Check out ‘Latex Dreams’ for another fantastic example of this, and while it might not satisfy the hardcore punk rockers, if you’ve followed Frank’s journey from the beginning you’re more than likely to delighted by what’s on offer on ‘End Of Suffering’ and will be excited to see where they go from here.