As we trundle out of the polling stations here in the UK, things are looking bleak. 2019 is coming to a dismal end and amongst the decent, compassionate human beings, there’s a stark realisation that we’re subject to another five years of rule by some out-of-touch Hoorah Henrys. The only hope for the man on the street is rock ‘n’ roll. Luckily, Norway’s most deranged Scandi Rock heroes, The Good, the Bad and the Zugly, have rock ‘n’ roll in spades as they aim to kick-off 2020 with a deathpunk bang last heard coming from Turbonegro’s Apocalypse trilogy era. With album number four, GBZ’s Algorithm & Blues is about to trim off all your Christmas fat in a bombastic fashion come January. Prepare yourself, people.
Kicking off with a riff that’s hardwired directly into Angus Young’s amp, Welcome to the Great Indoors proclaims “I am a liar.” There’s no chance of getting the feeling you’ve been cheated here, though. This is the real deal; top drawer punk rock to further enrage the most savage of beasts. Fake Noose follows with a hardcore vocal delivery. It’s deathpunk at its most dangerous before a chanting chorus is unveiled. The real sweet spot is secured with a second verse falsetto. Don’t panic as we’re a far cry from Justin Hawkins territory.
I have this theory that songs reserved for spot number three on an LP are the real album pinnacle; a show of strength and at times the most accessible. Staying With the Trouble lives up to my way of thinking and it’s all kinds of epic. It ticks all the boxes and rubber stamps things with its melodic chorus. Killer.
GBZ know their target audience and there’s a Turbojugend nod (or is that a wink?) on the spoken word that is Follow Your Dreams before Kings of Inconvenience hits you around the chops in a one minute sucker punch. Humour also isn’t lost in Camp Zugly as, if I’ve read things right, The Man Behind the (Oxygen) Mask seems to be an ode to sleep apnoea. Hey, even the hardest of double denim clad amphetamine fulled rocker needs a good nights kip now and again, right?
“It’s Sunday morning and I’m googling myself” introduces Fuck Life… But How to Live It with chugging guitar and an unexpected halftime diversion that makes the track oh so special. “Friday night, 50 Euros in my pocket” is the call and it’s all work hard / play hard as, like many, the band live for the weekend. Unlike the title, Corporate Rock refuses to dilute the GBZ sound. This is who they are, this is the noise they make and if you don’t like it then you can fuck off. What Have You Done For Me Lately? further cements the point with an ace haunting slowed down intro that teases you before it’s back to GBZ’s trademark charm.
The band aren’t afraid to shy away from a political stab either. See The Kids are Alt-Right, a possible self explanatory title that sees the band take aim with “90% are into white supremacy.” There’s no beating about the bush here and things don’t stop there. After a Pål Pot Pamparius fingering, Fuck the Police sees the Norwegians turn nastier than ever, and do you know what? This is where they excel. Kisteglad then acts as an interlude before a drum roll from hell introduces Requiem and the album ends in a beautiful bloody mess.
Listen after listen, I defy anyone to pick a stand-out track. That’s testament to the strength of this record. Album after album, the band seem to set themselves up for a fall. That is, they release an album that you think they can’t top and then they pull it out of the bag with an LP to rival, or arguably better its predecessor. If you’re a band thinking of releasing a punk rock record in 2020, then the bar has been set. If you’re a punter, don’t bother buying soap on a rope for your least favourite uncle this Christmas. Save the dollar and invest in an early contender for 2020’s album of the year. Trust me when I say that Algorithm & Blues is more addictive than heroin flavoured Pringles. Once you pop, you just can’t stop. When punk rock is this good, why would you? Ginge Knievil
Pre-order the LP here