Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes describe ‘End Of Suffering’ as their third and most important record, and they are not wrong. Following the success of their first two albums (‘Blossoms’ and ‘Modern Ruin’ were recorded back to back just 8 months apart) the band hit the studio in London during the record-breaking heat wave of 2018, with the intention of taking their time to create the biggest and best album they could.
To help achieve this, they roped in famed producer Cam Blackwood (Jack Savoretti/George Ezra) and the legendary mixing talents of Alan Moulder (NIN/QOTSA) to help turn their blood, sweat, and tears into something truly special.
The title ‘End Of Suffering’ comes from the Buddhist mantra for finding enlightenment, and the themes of this album document Frank’s struggles for the last 2 years. First single ‘Crowbar’ may have lulled fans into a false sense of security that this album was going to be choc-a-bloc with primal, fist-pumping anthems of empowerment’, but it’s safe to say Frank and songwriting partner/guitarist Dean Richardson have worked hard to take The Rattlesnakes to the next level. I believe their songwriting has matured beyond any of their previous work.
At the heart of this album is the song ‘Anxiety’, a highlight at the recent intimate shows. With a hard-hitting video and relatable lyrics, it’s a song that has already touched the hearts and souls of many fans. Dean’s lone, haunting guitar riff sets the tone for Frank to open up more than he ever has before. ‘Anxiety’ is an anthem for unity, a song to raise your hands to and stamp your feet along to.
You see, Frank Carter is a man who cares, and understands he is in a unique position where he can make a difference to people’s lives through his music. And if the message he gives out prevents just one person from shutting themselves off from the world, making them realise that they are not alone and that it is ok to not be ok, then his job is done.
Heavy talk aside, ‘End Of Suffering’ is introspective and puts out a positive message. It is not a punk album, nor is it an indie album. ‘End Of Suffering’ is a modern rock record that perfectly bridges the gap between Gallows and Pure Love, much more successfully than either of their two previous albums did.
While the hardcore influence of Gallows that was still present throughout the first two albums is now all but a distant memory, ‘End Of Suffering’ is no less intense for it. Opener ‘A Butterfly Can’t Love A Spider’ sets the intensity levels high from the word go. Riding on a formidable, pulsating beat and brooding vocals that build to a soaring crescendo, as Dean bashes out a dirty riff. “When I’m high, I’m in Heaven, when I’m low I’m in Hell” sings Frank, and we believe every word.
The band then fire into the skulking beast that is ‘Tyrant Lizard King’. Featuring a cool, desert rock riff and a chorus that slithers from the speakers like a snake ready to inject its venom straight into the soul, it captivates and enraptures. A trademark off the wall solo from a certain Tom Morello fits the feel of the song perfectly. This tune is guaranteed to be a mainstay of The Rattlesnakes live set for years to come. 2 songs in, and it’s safe to say the band has taken things up a notch or two.
“I’m a punk rock renegade” drawls Frank on the opening line of the space age, indie punk hybrid ‘Kitty Sucker, before launching into another anthemic, high energy chorus that matches the intensity of Gallows at their finest.
With the likes of ‘Little Devil’ with its QOTSA feel and the regimental beats and high energy, post-punk vibes of ‘Heartbreaker’, The Rattlesnakes offer enough to satisfy all the cravings their fans desire. They even explore Portishead territory on the downbeat electronica soaked ‘Angel Wings’, a song that creates beautiful and cinematic imagery, if you just take the time to close your eyes and take it in.
The emotive closing title track offers yet more with acoustic guitars, a piano refrain and a recording of Frank’s four year old daughter laughing as the song fades out on singular ivory notes. “I’ll be waiting…even if I’m gone” Frank assures the listener in a near broken voice.
Between sorrow and beauty, where love and hate collide, the deeply personal ‘End Of Suffering’ could be the album to rocket Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes into stadiums around the world. It has already been stated elsewhere that this is their ‘The Holy Bible’, that this could be their ‘In Utero’. The difference being…this album offers hope where the others only gave despair.
Funnily enough, the opening quote of this review was taken from the introduction of the U.S. mix of ‘She Is Suffering’ by the Manic Street Preachers. How’s that for a tenuous link, pop pickers!
Buy End Of Suffering Here
Author: Ben Hughes