Review: Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons “We’re the Bastards” [Nuclear Blast Records]

Review: Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons “We’re the Bastards” [Nuclear Blast Records]

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As it turns out, there is a life after Motörhead. Mikkey Dee plays in Scorpions now, which play farewell shows worldwide last few years and promise a new album. Phil Campbell founded a family enterprise in 2016, named Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons, released an highly acclaimed album The Age Of Absurdity and two years later here comes the second release from the band, pretentiously named We’re the Bastards.

Phil’s sons followed their father’s footsteps so the band’s line-up looks like this: Phil Campbell (guitar), Todd (guitar), Tyla (bass) and Dane (drums). The only member who isn’t tied to Campbell’s family is Neil Starr, a vocalist, who came to the band from Attack! Attack!

Phil could easily have done something else, says Neil. He could’ve joined another band or even just stopped, but he wasn’t daunted by the prospect of starting another band because it didn’t make any difference to him – he just wanted to enjoy playing music with his sons. Even when he was still in Motörhead, he really enjoyed playing music with his sons. So really, from the start, we’ve just done our own thing and enjoyed it.

To rephrase an old saying, you can take a musician out of Motörhead but you can’t take Motörhead out of musician, so We’re the Bastards expectedly sounds dirty, high-powered Heavy Rock ‘n’ Roll with a certain amount of aggression, reckless spree and persistently raised middle finger towards some “righteous men”, moralists and various champions of purity of whatever it is. And sometimes it sounds so Motörhead‘ish that you subconsciously expect for Lemmy  to start singing but it doesn’t happens. “Keep Your Jacket On” and “Hate Machine” are such songs, with potent smooth drumming, relatively simple groovy riffs and great hooks with some male chanting. Just Heavy Rock ‘n’ Roll as it should be, nothing unnecessary.

“Son Of A Gun” with bass intro, smooth riff and great solo, sounds more like Punk, turning into Rock ‘n’ Roll only in chorus, and in fast-paced “Animals” it is opposite: started with groovy riff, the song rapidly changes the main motive in chorus, going Punk. The short and fierce “Destroyed” with aggressive lyrics is a pure Punk song without any additions.

“Promises Are Poison”, “Bite My Tongue” and “Lie To Me” sound more like American Rock with powerful guitars, drums and some good hookiness. “Lie To Me” sounds a little bit grimmer than the other songs and “Bite My Tongue” stands out with long melodic solo.

“Born To Roam” starts with bluesy acoustic guitar which further joined with other instruments and the music turns to a rhythmical Blues Rock. The slow “Desert Song” starts with harmonica; heavy sound takes this song Southern but the Blues core doesn’t allows to make it happen.

The most outstanding song in We’re the Bastards is the longest one, “Waves”. It doesn’t have some Rock ‘n’ Roll ardor and it is less drivy than other songs but it shows the art side of each musician in the band and there is a place for everyone to show his playing skills.

The only thing that isn’t quite fit to this album is Neil’s vocals and it’s not because it is bad. It’s just because you expect some low and hoarse voice with such music and not some clean vocals. Even when Neil tries to sing low, adding some roughness to his voice, it’s not so convincing. Nevertheless, it’s more about the listeners’ expectations – I mentioned for a reason that in some moments in this album you literally wait for the Lemmy’s voice.

But all in all, We’re the Bastards gives the listener exactly what he expects from such guitarist like Phil Campbell: heavy sound, groovy riffs, simple melodies, stadium choruses and lots of energy. These songs will sound greatly in live performance, obviously, but I hope that sooner or later we will have such opportunity.

We’re the Bastards was released on Friday, 13 of November via Nuclear Blast.

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