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Album Review : Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons – ‘We’re The Bastards

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Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM

This is rock ‘n’ roll: hard, heavy and with a snarling attitude that says more in one song than some bands manage in their entire careers.

On this, their second album, the ex-Motorhead gun slingers outfit build on the firepower displayed on 2018’s ‘The Age of Absurdity’ and turn things up a notch or two.

As they further stamp their own identity onto the scene, they’ve managed to stand out from the pack, growing beyond the long shadow cast by Campbell’s former band.

That’s not to say that this is a conscious running away from the legacy of Motorhead, the guitarist being rightly proud of the legendary veteran hellraisers that he played with for twenty one years, their raw edged, adrenaline fueled rock ‘n’ roll being very much on display here.

What you get in addition is more added elements as the album unfolds, with a touch of blues here, some Southern fried flavour and a splash of shimmering 70’s vibes.

Straight out of the gate, you get swept away by the furiously paced title track as it threatens to smash teeth down throats and break heads, ‘Son of a Gun’ has the power to tear you limb from limb and then ‘Promises are Poison’ finishes the job by slicing you into tiny pieces in a maelstrom of bass and guitar riffs.

The album barely pauses for breath as it charges from one track to the next but it’s not just a heads down race to the finish as the songwriting not just propels the thirteen tracks but also brings a maturity and genuine weight that speaks of class in abundance.

Sure, it’s as rough edged as you could wish for and this is genuinely explosive hard rock as tracks like ‘Animals’, ‘Bite My Tongue’ and ‘Hate Machine’ hit like jackhammers but there’s also the big bluesy grind of ‘Desert Song’ and the QOTSA stutter of ‘Riding Straight To Hell’, the riff juddering as if it’s being plugged into the mains.

There’s also a hark back to Motorhead’s savage early work in the vicious ‘Destroyed’, sounding like the Sex Pistols but roars instead of sneers and elsewhere Southern heavyweight ‘Born To Roam’ wouldn’t be out of place on a Black Stone Cherry album.

Along with Campbell and his three sons bringing their impressive musical muscle, singer Neil Starr absolutely shines, his vocals both powerful and sweet.

The vocalist gets to really show what he can do in the gorgeous closing track ‘Waves’, the laid back rhythms sounding gloriously summery and is reminiscent of America’s ‘Horse With No Name’ before the storming final salvo of its pounding crescendo.

There really is so much to enjoy here and in ‘We’re The Bastards’ the band have produced one of the finest rock albums of the year. Gloriously rebel rousing.

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