|Turbonegro - 'Sexual Harassment' (Volcom Entertainment)|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Saturday, 16 June 2012 04:00|
One of the biggest setbacks any rock band can ever encounter during their quest for fame and fortune is when their lead singer decides to up sticks and leave the ranks at the very peak of their popularity. The annals of hard rocking history pretty much pays testament to this fact, and you only have to look how quickly bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest quickly returned to their former frontmen (and some of their past glories) once they had test driven a newer model for an album or two, and then found the older model to be the one that the fans really liked.
So without trying to paint too black a picture for 'Sexual Harassment', the new album from Norwegian death punks Turbonegro before I even type a word telling you about just how fucking amazing this album actually is, I just wanted to set the scene and perhaps share with you the size of the task facing the remaining members of the band when they sat down to pen this ten track shot of (s)punk rock. This task is also not helped by the fact that to your more sussed out punk rock fan Turbonegro are still pretty much viewed as THE genre defining band of their age. Perhaps best described as "the Poison Idea of the Scando movement", with their outrageous onstage antics and provocative back catalogue of homoerotic tunes they were never destined to be household names, but by god they should have been.
Having originally downed instruments at the tail end of 1998 (following a string of critically acclaimed independent releases during almost a decade of mayhem) the band took an enforced hiatus to allow their larger than life frontman Hank Von Helvete to basically "get his shit together", the guys eventually regrouping around 2002 and unleashing a series of three albums that would go on to define the genre of death punk within the mainstream media. Some ('Retox') were slightly more commercially orientated whilst others ('Scandinavian Leather') stuck more rigidly to the Alice Cooper fronting The Dictators playing songs inspired by the 'Carry On' movies roots of the band. But whatever the musical flavour of the moment you could always trust Turbonegro to sound like ...well Turbonegro really.
With a lot of Turbonegro's uniqueness being down to the unmistakable bear like growl of Mr Von Helvete (and of course his knack of being able to shoot fireworks out his arse), the loss of his undeniably immense talent to the (in my opinion) hugely inferior Doctor Midnight & The Mercy Cult in 2010 looked like being the final killer blow for Turbonegro, a band who had promised so much. But... as they say in the Hong Kong Book Of Punk Rock "you can never keep a good band (or a semi solid erection) down for long" especially when there's plenty of amyl nitrate to go around. So with remaining duo of guitarist Euroboy and bassist Happy Tom quickly acquiring the equally bear like vocal talents of ex-Dukes of Nothing frontman Tony Sylvester (re-christening him Duke of Nothing in the process), they then also added new drummer Tommy Manboy before welcoming back rhythm guitarist Rune Rebellion to the fold to fashion the line up that we have here on 'Sexual Harassment', and boy oh boy what a glorious death punk racket these fatherfuckers make.
Anyone who has already sampled the anthemic delights of lead track from the album 'You Give Me Worms' will have a good idea of what awaits them once inside the new model Turbonegro, think less Finbarr and much more Biffa in the lyrical and musical delivery and you won't be too far off the mark. 'Worms' along with the likes of 'I Got A Knife', 'Hello Darkness' and 'Dude Without A Face', take what you and I would know as the classic Apocalypse Dudes formula and basically cranks it up a few notches.
Excited? Well you should be as what Mr Sylvester brings to the (piss) party in the vocal department is not unlike what Wade MacNeil has recently done for Gallows (thank you Gaz E for that analogy as it is simply bang on), because here his wart encrusted Lemmy-istic larynx makes the likes of 'Mister Sister' sound like one of the best songs Motorhead have written since '1916'. This is rock 'n' roll baby and we like it, love it. There's also a new dynamic to the band's sound in the almost 60's garage band undertones of 'Rise Below' and once again Euroboy sees fit to dust off the 3 pick up Les Paul with smoke capsules primed at the ready for the frankly awesome duo of 'Shake Your Shit Machine' and 'Buried Alive'. Sylvester may be wearing the Hank make up but in this band he's not simply reliving past glories and pissing on his new band mates' rich legacy, nah this is Turbonegro reinvented for 2012 my friends and you simply must hear this album.
Before I bring this review to a close let's not forget the guys in Turbonegro like to party right? Well check out 'Tight Jeans Loose Lease' for a world class lesson in the Finbarr Saunders school of songwriting, this is a song that will have serious contenders to the smut throne The Hip Priests kicking their heels wishing they had written it, as if this gem had been on 'Full Tilt Bullshit' they would have then turned in the album of a lifetime rather than just this year. Yes it really is that good.
So with a whole host of festival live dates currently underway and with some dates also being added for the UK in November (for which the aforementioned Priests must be the first choice for support, surely) it's time for Jugend worldwide to celebrate the future, because the masters of death punk are back and they are sexier than ever!!!!!!
You can throw your sailors caps in the air now if you want.