No way, man! No way whatsoever! I’m not having it that it was 34 years ago that Phil Campbell first appeared on our screens when Motörhead appeared on BBC2’s ‘The Young Ones’. The episode in question, ‘Bambi’, was a belter for many reasons. Ade Edmondson as Vyvyan ramming a roll wrapped in clingfilm into his mouth then giving the stall assistant the V sign, or sticking his head out of the window of a train carriage, then getting decapitated, or Griff Rhys Jones as University Challenge brainiac Bamber Gascoigne, but for any impressionable youngster who enjoyed a bit of the good stuff, it was memorable for one reason only; Motörhead on the telly… and Motörhead with a new four man line-up. The first time that most of us had encountered Würzel and his fellow six stringer, Phil Campbell. No way was that 1984! Fast forward to 2018, and we have the debut album from Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons, and bloody good it is too.
The bite that you would expect from someone who had played with Motörhead for decades is there for all to hear. The unmistakable intro to opening track ‘Ringleader’ is actually quite emotional, as so many Motörhead memories come flooding back, but ‘The Age Of Absurdity’ has more strings to its bow than you might expect. Even during ‘Ringleader’, it chops and changes on numerous occasions, the slower groove simply crushes. The first thing you notice is how powerful The Bastard Sons are. Campbell’s three sons Todd (guitar), Tyla (bass) and powerhouse drummer Dane make you sit up and pay attention, and vocalist Neil Starr has a gruff, powerful voice that belies his age and relative inexperience.
This is proper rock n’ roll, fast when it needs to be (‘Gypsy Kiss’ and ‘Dropping The Needle’), but even when they slow it down a notch (‘Step Into The Fire’ and ‘Get On Your Knees’) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons never let up on the intensity. Some great diverse moments on the album means it could never be regarded as a full-pelt one trick pony. ‘Dark Days’ has a sweaty, juke joint vibe about it, featuring some sweet harmonica from Todd. A killer solo from Phil Campbell himself seals the deal. Pure and simple – this is a belter. ‘Welcome To Hell’ and ‘High Rule’ are two fine slices of what you could describe as ‘modern rock n’ roll’, music with an attitude perfect for 2018. Every track seems to be building up to something special, and that would be closing track ‘Into The Dark’, six minutes plus of brooding, smouldering rock that just makes you want to groove like no-one is watching. Moves like Jagger? More like Jäger, mate! The playing is smooth and the tone is incredible, nothing flashy, but smoking hot. The rhythm pairing of Tyla and brother Dane keep it simple and get the crucial work done with minimum fuss, a great sound indeed.
‘The Age Of Absurdity’ is a cracking debut album, and one that shows great promise from Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons.
Available now through Nuclear Blast here.