After the sad passing of Lemmy and calling an end to the inimitable juggernaut that was Motörhead, guitarist Phil Campbell stuck to his strengths and in 2016 formed Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons. As the name alludes, Phil kept it in the family and enlisted his sons Todd, Dane, and Tyla on guitar, drums and bass respectively alongside lead singer Neil Starr (Attack! Attack!). After last year’s eponymous EP, Age of Absurdity (Nuclear Blast) is their debut studio album and it successfully combines Rock song-craft with rich, Heavy Metal production.
A full-throttle firecracker of a song, album opener ‘Ringleader’ sets the no-nonsense four-to-the-floor tone for the record. This no thrills, straight to business, ethos is adhered to from start to finish, producing headbanging anthems like the literal cock rock of ‘Get on Your Knees’ and the impressive Heavy Metal chug of ‘Skin and Bones’. Not forgetting the pounding rhythm and sweet chorus of ‘Freak Show’, a nice meaty slab of commercial rock n roll. Neatly summed up, AOA is the high tempo energy of Motörhead, the loudness of Metallica, with a smooth, radio-friendly Black Stone Cherry gloss over the top.
Things get really interesting when they spice things up with two of the best songs being short and sharp blasts of Punk Rock, namely the frenetic, expletive-filled ‘Gypsy Kiss’ and the blink and you will miss it goodness of ‘Dropping The Needle’. Halfway through the album, they dabble in the Blues, the end result being ‘Dark Days’; a refreshing change of pace with a seriously hefty groove. The final track ‘Into the Dark’ with its cyclical main lick and throbbing bass line sounds light and airy, sharing a similar DNA to Finnish Glam Metallers Santa Cruz, with Neil Starr’s voice reminiscent of Black Stone Cherry’s Chris Robertson.
Age of Absurdity is a high energy, high octane, and, most importantly, loud collection of great rock n roll tunes without an ounce of pretense.