Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons - The Age Of Absurdity

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons - The Age Of Absurdity

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(CD, Nuclear Blast, 2018)

I was wondering what the surviving members of MOTÖRHEAD would do after Lemmy's passing. That the guys would continue to play, there was no doubt about, just in what form. Mikkey Dee was quickly drafted to SCORPIONS and Phil joined in with his sons... All pretty much as I expected, Mikkey to something grand and Phil to something familiar, but perhaps not something as close at hand as it became. I guess this how it felt like to happen; Phil just wants to play and as long as he can do it he’s happy. It is really a cool thing they've got going with PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS and what strikes me is that they've managed to capture two worlds and make it fit.

Phil contributes with the Blues-y foundation also present in MOTÖRHEAD while there's another part representing a more modern and contemporary sound. Just listen and compare “Skin And Bones” with a slight stoner feel and heavy groove towards up-tempo Punky MOTÖRHEAD oozing “Gipsy's Kiss”. PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS of course have a cleaner and more modern sound on their first full length, “The Age Of Absurdity”, when compared to MOTÖRHEAD. From my perspective and for my taste, I could have done with some more filth in the production - a little rawer sound would have done it good! But by all means, it still sounds good and it could definitely have been worse.

The slow-moving “Dark Days” shows another side of the band and the basic Rock and Blues style suites them very good. I keep thinking of the mid-'90s for this one but can't put my finger on what it sounds like. At least it is good. The only no (bastard) son in the band, is Neil Starr whose voice resemblances with the giants of the Grunge scene from the mid '90s. Eddie Vedder is definitely a reference in this song. In the rawer and faster songs, his tone leans more towards Punk. The variation fits very well with the song and gives the album character.

Another cool and up-tempo one is “Dropping The Needle”; the bite in the guitars is just phenomenal and clearly shows Phil isn't some discharged back-number. He's still on the top and from a riffs and attack perspective it doesn't get much better than this which sets this track as one of my favourites from “The Age Of Absurdity”. Another one striking immediately is “High Rule” with the beat and dynamics differing from the rest. I really enjoy the laid-back verses as compared to the force in the choruses. I miss things like this to some extent on “The Age Of Absurdity”. Much of it gnaws on in the same pace, well there are two gears actually, one up-tempo and one mid-tempo, and songs become a little standardized. I guess that's why a song like the album closer “Into The Dark” stands out as much as it does. The ballad is smooth-flowing, melancholic and holds a totally different nerve than the rest. I really love this track even if it fully doesn't represent the PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS sound.

But this one sure is a high standard record; it feels fun, and the energy is there. What more would you want?





01. Ringleader
02. Freak Show
03. Skin And Bones
04. Gypsy Kiss
05. Welcome To Hell
06. Dark Days
07. Dropping The Needle
08. Step Into The Fire
09. Get On Your Knees
10. High Rule
11. Into The Dark


Neil Starr - Vocals
Phil Campbell - Guitar
Todd - Guitar
Tyla - Bass
Dane - Drums