This year has already treated us to some exceptional and passionate punk adventure through the outstanding new releases from UK Subs and Dirt Box Disco; the legends bringing not only their sound but equally the genre into a startling and exhilarating new peak and the ‘new kids on the block’ showing punk n roll can be a masterful contagion bringing riot and fun into an irresistible union. Now we have the thrilling new Goldblade album which stands somewhere in between the two, the release an exceptional thirteen track brawl which snarls and provokes thoughts and senses whilst unleashing prime punk rock irresistibility. The Manchester band has always challenged and stood tall before injustices and social destructions but The Terror Of Modern Life, their sixth album, just might be the quintet at their most potent and venomous yet, quite possibly their finest hour.
The Overground Records released album is a titan of hooks, riffs, and attitude, a combative riot of energy and passion which leaves a deep mark whilst showing others how to be a potent inciting weapon against complacency and apathy, musically and socially. It opens with the mighty This Is War!, and instantly casts a web of belligerent and carnivorous bass corrosion over the ear. Bassist Keith Curtis immediately owns the senses, the barracuda throaty tone of his bass glaring eye to eye with the listener whilst aggressively seducing and intimidating. As the guitars of Peter Gorgeous and Andy Taylor sculpt out their share of the air with sonic precision and infectious flaming, the compelling canvass is set for vocalist John Robb to prowl and make his, as ever, enjoyably imposing and striking declaration. Complete with grooves and hooks which reap seeds in the same well of virulence as those conjured up by the likes of Buzzcocks and Dead Kennedys, and enslaving rhythmic excellence from Rob Haynes, the track ignites a fierce fire and hunger for the album with ease and makes a shout as one of the best punk songs in a long time.
It also sets a high bar for the rest of the release to emulate yet seemingly it is a simple test as the following Psycho Takes A Holiday and the staggering The Shamen Are Coming show. The first of the pair is a scorch of rock n roll with anthemic enthusiasm and undiluted melodic enterprise, its uncomplicated punk fuelled dance upon the ear as mischievous as it is energetic for two minutes of easy to ride and devour enticement. The second song is another startling highlight, a track which whips the passions up into a frenzy of rabid excitement. As soon as the opening scrub of acidic riffs, soon accompanied by the ever primal bass growl, lay their acerbic touch upon the ear greedy anticipation is sparked and sated impressively by a breath-taking mix of post punk and pure punk alchemy. Like a mix of The Adicts and The Diagram Brothers, the track twists and taunts the ear with scintillating flesh flailing sonic and rhythmic invention. As impacting as it is the scarring is subsequently soothed by the adjoining expression of group vocal harmonies and discord swept melodic caresses. Earlier it was said the opener was the best punk song in a long time, the fusion of all mentioned within The Shamen Are Coming ensures it stands as its equal.
The dub infested Serious Business swaggers in next with a loud whisper of Ruts to its courting, though as with all references they are mere colours to the distinct Goldblade flavour, whilst both We’re All In It Together and Someone Stole My Brain get the job done with straight forward accomplished craft, the first an uncomplicated old school punk bruise and the latter with another predatory tempting with again that delicious carnally bred bass spine making pure persuasion within sinister grooved riffs. With a maniacal hunger to its chorus and a compelling lure to the continual aural bulldozing offered, it is another immense treat which makes its predecessor, sandwiched between two such great songs, seem a little underwhelming despite its open strengths and appeal.
Through the likes of the all impressive Sick / Tired, They Kiss Like Humans, Act Like Machines, and the raw abrasion Guilty the album slips a little but only because of the excellence of the mountainous pinnacles it unearths. These and every song on the release are undeniably stirring and deeply pleasing assaults on the senses and thoughts but a few when placed beside a track like the immense and epidemically hooked The World Is Fucked Up Nowadays just have to take second place on the glory podium. This last song has a breath which leaves distrust and sonic malevolence on the tongue, but spiced up by impossibly tasty grooves which again would have made Shelley and Diggle drool back in the day, it leaves the strongest rapture making play with the emotions.
Completed by another furnace of ardour inducing punk majesty in the brilliant Hey You! Elastic Face, the ever caustic tones of Robb grazing up emotions whilst the barbed discord laced hooks fire up every other aspect of the listener, and the oppressive and threatening title track, a song which is dark, heavy, and intrusive like the world spawning its intent and ripples with essences of The Pack within its merciless consumption, The Terror Of Modern Life is quite brilliant. Simply it is an album which takes band and genre onto an explosive new anarchic plateau whilst fusing vintage punk and new uncompromising creativity into one frighteningly scintillating fury.
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