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Album Review : Phil Campbell & the Bastard Sons – Kings of the Asylum

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Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

The Welsh bastards of clan Campbell release studio album number three and it as good as the very high expectations I had.

This is newbie Joel Peters first studio visit with the bastards and if you have seen the boys live you were probably expecting something good but I can assure you this is something very special and Joel has a lot to do with that.

PCATBS just get better and better, not only are they one of the best live bands on the circuit their discography is very impressive and Kings of the Asylum builds on the already sturdy foundations of “The Age of Absurdity” and “We’re the Bastards”.

The album comes straight out of the blocks with power, attitude and classic Motorhead madness. “Walking in Circles” has a brain driller of a riff with brutal drum and bass lines and has Joel spitting out lyrics with vehemence. As if I need to say it but the guitar work is sublime…well, they do have a guitar God on board.

“Too Much is Never Enough” keeps the pace up with an early AC/DC feel. The pace never lets up and as the old boss said this is quality Rock’n’Roll. “Hammer & Dance” kicks off with (fuck you) Tyla letting rip on the four string. It is not long before the other brothers and Dad kick in to rip us a new one. I can see why this album was named as it is as everything is full throttle, hectic and a bit mental.

The AC/DC / Airbourne vibe picks up again on “Strike the Match”. This is Rock at its best, simple, straight forward and has you head banging within a minute. This is a live banger waiting in the wings.

“Schizophrenia” is a sleazy, guitar soaked tale of madness that builds into a modern classic. Iommi riffs, Slash solos and a bite like a T Rex. Fast, furious brilliance.

For the first time we slow things down and the title track leans on the blues heavily. This could be a twisted twin to the song “Dark Days”. That song is my favourite track but this bitch of a song is putting up a hell of a fight. A showstopper of a track.

Time to kick away that slow tempo on “The Hunt” and for all the Motorhead fans this one is for you. Lemmy’s cowboy boots would be tapping and he would very nearly be spilling his Jack & Coke, another outstanding track.

“Show No Mercy” follows up with the same intensity and drive. The band are as tight as hell on this album once more. I loved Dane’s drum mix here. It was crystal clear and punctuated the song and the guitars perfectly.

“No Guts! No Glory!” is skating very close to industrial Death Metal heaven. This follows on with the asylum theme as the chaos ensues throughout. Break neck speed with no intakes of breath and an almost Maiden time change with dueling guitars. Joel syphons his best Ricky Warwick internal juices as he makes this song his own.

If “Ghosts” had a musical picture book the artists would be a few of the best prog metal bands within. This songs tapestry is vivid and a bit of a left turn for the band. It may be a bit different but it is a thing of beauty.

Final track “Maniac” is pure 70s punk. The attitude of the whole album has been getting there but on the last song it spills over like volcano. The profanities could very well be a new Guinness book of records entry and this live will have us all singing word for word. To be fair with this sort of intensity I expect the saliva to be flying. What a manic way to finish, a beast of a track.

PCATBS seem to be an unstoppable machine. Album after album, song after song and gig after gig. Each one better than the one previous and these Welsh boys have no idea what the word filler means.

Kings of the Asylum is a monster. The only issue with these inmates is they are all loose and they are causing musical chaotic brilliance. This is a 10/10 offering. Us metalheads love our monsters and they do not come any darker or more twisted than the bastards.


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