You know how there are some albums you just know are going to be incredible? Yeah, this was one of those. Released at the end of September, Mother’s Ruin is the first full-length album from Midlands’ punk rock 4-piece Max Raptor, following their debut mini-album Portraits (which was also excellent, The King is Dead one of the best punk songs of 2011). An irresistible blend of catchy hooks and furious riffs mixed with raw vocal power reminiscent of early Gallows, there is not a single bad song. They manage to remain one of the few truly punk bands, staying faithful to their political roots yet remaining lyrically current despite a slight line-up change this year, and are certainly a band that has an epic future ahead of them.
The album blasts into your ear drums from the get-go with the furious Back of a Barrel Wave – but don’t let that dense intro put you off; England Breathes is definitely one of the standout songs of the album, with rock solid drums and an anthemic chorus. This is shortly followed by Grace and Favours – some gruff guitars and a brilliant shouty refrain at the end – and the gloriously heavy Breakers in which angry frontman Wil Ray rages about unemployment and social discord.
Heavy Hearts marks an abrupt but welcome change of pace, a melancholy yet somehow uplifting ballad sprinkled with a little piano and some liberal ‘oooh’-ing which still works somehow. This brief break from form doesn’t last long however; Must Work Harder kicks in with a bang, shortly followed by the bouncy title track Mother’s Ruin. Finally, Pioneers closes the album just as strongly as it began with no wishy-washy trailing off into the distance. Instead, cue another sing-along hook-filled chorus and a storming climax. What more could you want?
Max Raptor are playing at the Birmingham 02 with Attention Thieves on 11th December and playing next year’s Download festival – make sure to get tickets, ‘cos punk rock is definitely not dead.