Frank Carter’s musical career has been staggering. And on End Of Suffering, the third with his Rattlesnakes, he pushes the boat out further than he ever has in the past, further than anybody (even his biggest fans) could have imagined all those years ago when he first graced the pages of Kerrang! with Gallows.
To date, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have blended buzzing Stooges punk, thick Queens Of The Stone Age riffs and winking alternative rock into something resembling Arctic Monkeys circa Humbug, as seen through a funhouse mirror. All of these sounds are here on End Of Suffering, and more besides.
Album highlight Tyrant Lizard King has that Iggy strut, those Turner curled-lip snarls and Homme riffs. But Carter’s poisonous poetics and spat-out staccato preaching in the verses is more than slightly reminiscent of Nick Cave, especially when he went balls-out on the two Grinderman records. Crowbar is another highlight – it’s a furious, raucous alt-rock headbanger. The chorus has swing, but it also has molten heavy metal energy.
Love Games opens with a monstrous riff that threatens to topple under its own weight, a ballad of titanic proportions that finds Carter crooning “If love is a losing game/Why do we play it again and again?” The sonic backdrop to the choruses is positively David Lynch-ian, sounding both haunted and heartbroken.
Anxiety opens with a riff straight from John Frusciante’s playbook (lots of Red Hot Chili Peppers flourishes on this record), before it takes in a riff clearly inspired by the Pixies. Carter knows what works for his sound – these newer flavours complement his increasingly widescreen ambitions, and he uses every element incredibly well. The call-back to Where Is My Mind? in the middle of the track is truly inspired.
Kitty Sucker is absolutely the best thing on here. It’s a showcase for Carter’s lewd and rude lyrics (he says a few naughty words about coitus), and about 10 different riffs that range from a scuzzy wrecking ball bridge section that swings like Tame Impala’s Elephant to a handful of lithe, buzzing indie rock sprints. The chorus is annoyingly catchy, too. The largely acoustic title track has a blackened edge, the likes of which you might find on Johnny Cash’s American albums or even the darkest corners of a Foo Fighters album, such is the range of Carter’s palette.
It’s frankly mind-boggling how these guys don’t occupy the space at the top of the ‘modern rock’ pyramid that bands like Royal Blood are doing their best to sanitise. If rock bands were chocolate bars, Royal Blood are a Dairy Milk – sweet, sickly and generally reliable. But Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes are some wild Willy Wonka creation full of just about every taste you’d expect, and more than a few exquisite surprises.