With a hugely successful debut EP and an array of exceptional live performances behind them, there was little doubt in my mind that this was likely to be an album worth adding to my collection. Phil was a major creative force in Motorhead for over 30 years - his skills and talent as a writer, performer and guitarist are legendary. I was excited to get my hands on this and I have to say, for three days, little else was played on the Sonos system in the house. It is unmistakeable in its style and execution - there are many familiar sounds but many new influences spread through the eleven tracks and I love them all.
Opening the album is the current single - being played daily on Planet Rock, ‘Ringleader’ - which will be familiar to many fans of hard rock. It is hard and heavy and the trademark fast drumming makes you wonder where Dane gets his energy from. It is an explosive opener and I urge you to check out the lyric video. Sing along to the rebellious lyrics - I dare you! Neil’s vocals are brilliant, and perfectly suited to the unique PCATBS sound. The album then takes you on a rollercoaster ride with ‘Freak Show’ and its grinding guitars, the short and sweet ‘Gypsy Kiss’ - another hard and heady track held together with Danes hundred mile an hour drumming.
The middle track, ‘Dark Days’ is a complete change. It is bluesy, melodic and meaningful, and my favourite track on the album. The awesome guitar solo and use of a harmonica gives you a chance to catch your breath but before you can relax too much, ’Dropping the Needle’ takes you back to musical days gone by and the resurgence of vinyl in todays rock. The second half of the album is catchy with stunning vocals, skilled guitar work and is a testament to how a band can develop a unique and unmistakeable sound, with each track having a hard, aggressive edge while still being technically well built.
Throughout the album there are catchy addictive lyrics contrasted with complex musicianship which draw you in, churn you round and by the time you reach the final track, you will need a rest. Todd is brilliant on lead guitar and his screaming solos fit the tracks well. The final track, ‘Into the Dark’ slows it right down again, pausing for breath. A perfect finale to what I believe will be one of my stand out albums of the year. I know it is only January, but this has the hallmarks of a classic rock album with clear influences of days gone by. It is well worth adding to the collection. Some of the tracks on the album have been part of the bands set lists in their live shows in the UK and Europe in 2017, and they are one of the most entertaining bands to watch live with their hot and heavy energy. If you get the chance to see them live - don’t miss the opportunity. They have a heavy schedule planned for 2018, details of tour dates can be found at www.philcampbell.net and on their facebook page - details below.
Skin and Bones
Welcome to Hell (Music Video available on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMVXtC3SVPE)
Dropping the Needle
Step into the fire
Get on Your Knees
Into the Dark
Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons are:
Neil Starr (vocals)
Todd Campbell (lead Guitar)
Phil Campbell (Guitar)
Tyla Campbell (Bass)
Dane Campbelll (Drums)
Check them out at:
Website - www.philcampbell.net
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/PhilCampbellATBS/
Twitter - @PCATBS
Instagram - phil_campbell_and_the_bs
Album and merch can be ordered from: https://media.nuclearblast.de/shoplanding/2018/PhilCampbell/the-age-of-absurdity.html