Album Review: Goldblade – “The Terror Of Modern Life”
I have to admit a sense of trepidation when I picked this one up from PRHQ. Goldblade are one of those bands that yours truly used to follow around the north of England religiously in his younger days. However, of late there’ve been worrying signs that maybe this band was starting to repeat itself. After four storming albums, their most recent effort, 2008’s “Mutiny” was a bit of a disappointment, seemingly using a pirate gimmick to disguise the general lack of new ideas therein. Now when this happens with a band you used to like, it tends to go one of two ways. In the majority of cases, it’s a depressing sign that the fire has gone and it’s all gonna be disappointment from hereon out (Therapy? being probably the best example of this although part of me still hopes that one day they get back to being as good as they once were) but you do get the occasional one where the group in question takes the blow on the chin and storms back with a great album which reminds you exactly what they’re capable of.
Happy to report then that with “The Terror Of Modern Life”, we’re very much in the second scenario. This album sees John Robb and his brothers put the rather one-dimensional “Mutiny” safely behind them and return to the storming form of its predecessor, 2003’s “Rebel Songs”. Indeed, this is as impressively fierce an indictment of the greed and ruthlessness of the current coalition government of this country as that album was of the anaemic New Labour administration under Tony Blair and it makes you wonder why they ever wanted to deviate from this path at all. From the angry, lurching opener of “This Is War!”, “The Terror Of Modern Life” is the sound of the Blade saying “right, enough clowning around, it’s time to get serious now…”
Don’t worry by the way, there’s still enough punk swagger and catchy hooks and choruses here to make this album listenable on the likes of “Psycho Takes A Holiday” and the Cameron-baiting “We’re All In It Together” while the pure white hot rage of “Guilty” and “My Mind Is Like An Atom Bomb” should satisfy even the most hyperactive of mosh-hounds. But it’s the little tricks that take the Blade outside their comfort zone which were largely abandoned on “Mutiny” which make a very welcome return here and indicate that this band are anything but out of ideas. “Someone Stole My Brain” is sheer fury with its screamed vocals and swirling guitars while the appropriately titled “Serious Business” sounds like something the Clash might have come up with on their under-rated “Sandinista” album with its collision of reggae bass, dub rhythm and punk attitude. The sheer sonic chaos of the eight-minute title track meanwhile is pure Stooges (think “Death Trip” or “We Will Fall”) and puts an impressive full stop on the album.
Shout it from the rooftops then, Goldblade are back on form and not before time. “The Terror Of Modern Life” should sit nicely in your record collection as a sister record to the Bermondsey Joyriders’ “Noise And Revolution” from last year as a damning indictment of these times we live in. Go give it a listen and then do the right thing and get thinking about how you can do your best to help sort this whole sorry mess out. Message over.