2019 has been another great year for punk rock releases, from The Hip Priests to Clowns, from Michael Monroe to The Volcanics all of these bands have released records more than worthy of scooping any number of coveted Album Of The Year tags, but this year for me one LP flying completely under the radar – and thus missing a review here on RPM at the time of its release back at the start of September – has knocked me bandy, more than any other. That album brothers and sisters is ‘Go To Hell Then Turn Left’, the long-overdue all-new studio record from German hardcore veterans Spermbirds.
Rewind to Hellfest 2018 and very early in the day on the Friday of the festival I finally got to see Spermbirds live, they totally owned the Warzone stage that day, no mean feat considering they were playing alongside the likes of Bad Religion, 7 Seconds and The Hard-Ons, but then when a band haven’t played the UK in God knows how long that makes finally seeing them seem all so much more special I guess, just like Gluecifer, a band also on the bill that same weekend and also stealing the show on the awesome Scando Sunday.
Actually for those of you who may not have heard Spermbirds before Gluecifer are as good a reference point to start as any, as this 13 track beast of a punk rock record has all the uber cool melodies of Biff Malibu’s mob at their White Jazz prime underpinned by the pent up anger that only 35 years’ experience of playing hardcore punk rock music across the world can bring.
Having suffered for my art with just a stream of ‘Go To Hell Then Turn Left’ to play for the best part of a month now I finally felt that the time was right to nail my colours to the mast regarding this record and see how many of you will suddenly be adding it to your Albums of The Year list too, because trust me when I say that nine years in the making, there is not a weak track on ‘Go To Hell Then Turn Left’.
Kicking off with the cough and splutter frenzied guitar driven onslaught of ‘Breathe Deep’ the band have never sounded more vital and when this track breaks into the album title track the you get to quickly realise that the Spermbirds can also still pen a catchy number to match any of their peers, and it’s here also that I’m wondering if Weab from Kid Klumsy might just be more of a fan of vocalist Lee Hollis than he’s letting on.
It’s almost impossible to pick standouts on an album packed full of them, but ‘Agent Nine’, ‘From This Direction Comes War’ and the explosive ‘Balancing Act’ are some of the finest tracks I’ve heard anywhere this year and just like with the ‘Black Door’ album by The Volcanics I mentioned in my intro. why it all works so well is simply because the band are doing this punk rock malarkey better than anyone else.
For those who remember the early days of the Spermbirds then the likes of ‘Bring Out The Snakes’, ‘I’m Not From Round Here’, ‘A Lot of Talk’ and ‘Thanks For Being Special’ will all have you all flipping your baseball cap and looking for your nearest skatepark whilst ‘If I Ever Find My Pants (Someone’s Gonna Die)’ has to be the best song title anywhere this year
‘Anything With An Engine’ is a song so brilliant it has to be the best Gluecifer song Gluecifer never wrote…. which just leaves ‘A Quarter Till The End Of The World’ to round off this total masterpiece of an album.
With no song breaking the 3:30 minute barrier all wrapped up in a production that will nail you to the wall, Spermbirds have achieved the almost impossible by releasing a perfect 10 album this late on in their career, then again there are some who will say they only ever release perfect 10 albums. Either way ‘Go To Hell Then Turn Left’ deserves to be heard by everyone, and if after this review you feel compelled to check out the record and then buy it…please pay this message forward!
Now, what about Spermbirds for Rebellion 2020 eh? The campaign starts here!!!!