PHIL CAMPBELL And The Bastard Sons – We’re The Bastards (2020)
PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS, the band formed by the guitarist in the aftermath of MOTÖRHEAD’s dissolution, following the death of Lemmy Kilmister in 2016, and including Campbell’s sons Todd, Dane and Tyla, plus vocalist Neil Starr, will release its new album, “We’re The Bastards“, on November 13 via Nuclear Blast.
Darn, seems this ‘family band’ has a lot time to rehearsal as they perfected their sound, and feels like a killer rock n’ roll oiled machine on this new album.
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-slinger 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.
The first two tracks get you straight into the Bastards mood. ‘We’re the Bastards’ is going to open many a gig when the time comes, and likely for many years after that. It is the sort of rebel rocker anthem a festival crowd will get into as well, with an easy to chant chorus.
‘Son of a Gun’ is similarly singable, with a killer cliche laden hook. It is also a belter, sure to please crowds with the simplistic politically minded lyrics. It isn’t going to inspire a revolution but has just enough angst to work well for the crowd.
This is music for a good time, so there isn’t much to the message beyond ignorance and war are bad. I have found myself randomly singing both choruses in the shower so that is a fair endorsement.
‘Promises are Poison’ slows it down a bit with a bit of boogie in the riff, while ‘Born to Roam’ is a hard bluesy tune with plenty of swagger, that perfectly captures the outlaw vibe the band seeks, as Starr admits the road is their home. Phil gets some wah wahs going on the solo too.
‘Animals’ sounds like a classic driving riff, something Lemmy would be excited by, as they go for speed and Starr spits his vocals: he’s “not addicted”, but “just can’t walk away.” Totally playlist worthy as you prepare for your next road trip. The winding solo is really crisp too before the Campbell boys spend some time just belting on that riff.
All the hallmarks of a decent hard rock album are here. ‘Desert Song’ is a slow blues jam with harmonica and a longer, more expressive solo. ‘Keep your Jacket On’ is another driving rhythm with stripperiffic lyrics that don’t exactly do much for gender relations. ‘Lie to Me’ is more on the groove side, with Starr using a raspier tone and Dane and Tyla keeping it seriously tight while Phil and Todd get a bit flashier on guitars.
‘Riding Straight to Hell’, with its refrain of “Set me free!”, sounds like the devil revving up a Harley and will get plenty of air time at motorcycle rallies. ‘Hate Machine’ is similar to ‘Animals’ in that it puts the pedal down and speeds along with some sick guitar leads peppering the ride.
‘Destroyed’ is a killer two-minute punkish tune, with plenty of “fuck you” and middle fingers sticking it to the man. Again, this will be a cracker live.
Tyla gets the spotlight to kick off ‘Waves’ with a bass solo, before the guitars kick in with some melodic picking. Closing out with a power ballad is a pretty standard decision and it gives Starr a chance to shine with his soaring vocals. The solo is suitably epic and builds into an up tempo, slick riff that will get the phone lights switched off and get the crowd headbanging again. It fades out and leaves listeners with the sense that the Bastard Sons will just keep jamming all night.
”We’re the Bastards” is a fun throwback to when albums were really just about rocking out. It is familiar, instantly recognisable and has plenty of swagger. Production is modern enough but respecting the classic style of the genre.
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.
01. We’re The Bastards
02. Son Of A Gun
03. Promises Are Poison
04. Born To Roam
06. Bite My Tongue
07. Desert Song
08. Keep Your Jacket On
09. Lie To Me
10. Riding Straight To Hell
11. Hate Machine
Phil Campbell – Guitars
Todd Campbell – Guitars
Tyla Campbell – Bass
Dane Campbell – Drums
Neil Starr – Vocals