Published Thursday, 24 December 2020 08:44
It is the end of a tumultuous year that has left many at the end of their rope and begging for some respite from their woes. For many, a nostalgic trip back to the rowdy, alcohol-drenched & drug-riddled rock and roll scene of the late 80s into the 90s is just what they need and so THE COMPULSIONS have obliged, led by frontman Rob Carlyle. Ferocious is the latest offering from a pack of accomplished musicians and rock music visionaries who’ve amassed a formidable cache of critical praise. This independent outfit has weathered a pandemic, a near-complete dissolving of the band itself, and a general feeling that rock as a genre that can’t survive without the likes of MGK and MILEY CYRUS*. 2020 can lay claim to the downfall to a great many things, but not good ol’ rock-n-roll if THE COMPULSIONS have anything to say about it.
As stated above, Ferocious is chock full of alcohol drinking, headbanging, and groupie loving aura that the rock-n-roll scene was infamously known for. From track 1, you’re thrust into a smoky bar at an about 10:30 at night with a beer in your hand as ‘Born on A Landfill’ cascades throughout the venue from the entrance to the barely clean bathroom stalls and the side exits where some poor sap is hurling up their guts. What follows is a menacing electro-industrial number in the form of ‘Band of Thieves’ with a complete lyrical disregard for the sensitive. From there the album spends much of its time vacillating from honky-tonk borderline rockabilly aesthetic to straight-up raunchy lyrical flourishes that would find itself roundly criticised in a blog post.
Aurally the album is a pure treat as a listening experience. Rock is at its best when the music is punchy, driving, and has an attitude and from track to track there was no compromise in that regard when it came to the mix. Leads and solos screamed bass lines toed the line, drums knocked, and the vocals did nothing more than what they needed to do…and that was more than enough. From a songwriting standpoint, the music is great as songs flow from section to section with ease. Considering the proximity to the rock-n-roll legend that this band enjoys, the execution in musicianship was to be expected and was delivered upon in spades.
Clocking in at 10 songs, one could say that the track count is the only thing that Ferocious isn’t ferocious with. Despite some of the twang that creeps in and out during a solid listening session, the album does its name and the elements of the genre it seeks to honour some justice. That said, there is a niche factor that has to be paid attention to. For those who just need a drive down memory lane with perhaps a few brews once the drive is over, there is nothing this album does wrong. For the listener who loves music with a nod to current shifts in the societal norms, this brew may not be for you. Ferocious is rock-n-roll; unapologetic, energetic, and in-your-face good for those who need it, and a plate full for those who just want a little taste of what rock was like when it was considered “real”.
*MGK and MILEY CYRUS’s importance to rock or lack thereof is not an opinion that reflects the musical taste of the author nor Underground Press at large… we just find it funny.