UK Decay - New Hope for the Dead (Metropolis Records)

Peerless, timeless punk rock for the ages...
Release Date: 
9 Sep 2013 - 11:30pm

A lot of bands these days, and I’m talking here about bands that were at their most vital when I was a mere stripling, are reforming or have already reformed. And I’ll be the first to admit, my reactions to these reformations usually range from ‘meh’ to 'so what'. Occasionally my interest is piqued as far as ‘why would they bother?’ but when I was asked to review this, the first album from Brit punks UK Decay in nearly thirty years, I have to say I was genuinely intrigued, if a little fearful.

I needn’t have worried.  For with New Hope… this band has not only avoided shitting on their own legacy, they’ve significantly enhanced the bloody thing. Nothing has been tampered with here – the trademark crust/goth/post-punk clattering drums and rumbling basslines propel the best tracks, the only difference here is that the production, overseen by metal producer Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Anvil et al) brings the band smack up to date in the twenty first century, rather than sounding like the band were recording in a disused well sometime in 1981.

Vocalist Steve ‘Abbo’ Abbott’s lyrics are, as always, worth the admission price on their own, with the likes of Heavy Metal Jews and Woman With a Black Heart in particular striking a few chords with this particular reviewer, whilst the fantastic Revolutionary Love Song highlights the fact that while the names on the honour roll board of those in charge might have changed, the despicable actions of those in charge are still resulting in shit landing on us from the same great heights they were when this band formed all those years ago. Plus ca change, as Geddy Lee might have said...

Musically UKD deal in taught, claustrophobic shards of jaggedly noisy aggro rock, all nased on the fantastic bass playing of Ed Branch.  It’s a delight to hear the four string motherfucker pushed out to the front of the mix as it is here, the simple yet effective lines that Branch comes up with drive the sound, whilst drummer Raymondo weaves in and out of the beat, giving his tom toms a fearful battering and building a skittering, tribal feel to proceedings.

It’s hard to recommend this to a down the line metal fan, as there’s little here to appeal to you if Trivium and Machine Head are your idea of a good night in. However, if you like noisey music that stands for something, music like Hawkwind, the Subhumans, or even New Model Army, then you’ll have a ball with this album.