In 2009, Frank Carter bellowed “We hate you, we hate this city” to almost universal acclaim. In 2013, he changed his tune and crooned “I’m so sick of singing about hate” and it almost derailed his career. Two years later he returned to “I fucking hate you”, and it completely revitalised him. So where are we in 2017? Well, probably somewhere in between to be honest. Although sophomore solo(ish) album ‘Modern Ruin’s title track continues the vitriol of 2015 debut ‘Blossom’, and tracks like ‘God Is My Friend’ and 50-second feeding-frenzy ‘Jackals’ come a close second, the rest of the album takes a more considered approach. Whereas ‘Blossom’ rode high on bitter waves of gnarled fury, equal parts spunk and spit, its successor sways in and out of the storm on more positive tides, reflecting on love but not necessarily bathing in it. Musically, both the vocals and the buzzblade guitars are cleaner, calmer, allowing tracks like ‘Snake Eyes’ to bob with an early Arctic Monkeys swagger, and although ‘Wild Flowers’ and ‘Real Life’ err close to Carter’s well-intentioned but poorly-received Pure Love project, they retain enough bite to keep them afloat, the former creating a huge album highlight. ‘Vampires’ even breaks into a cursed Ennio Morricone/Apache wardance towards the end, if that kind of thing tickles your turtle. But to focus solely on the music is to miss the heart of ‘Modern Ruin’. From the opening ode to Frank’s beloved dog to the final lamenting wails of ‘Neon Rust’, the album carves a defiantly satisfying path, yet the hardback book within which the special edition is housed, is a thing of sheer beauty. It doesn’t just hint at the passion and care that has gone into the album, but smears it across the pages, an open diary of creation in gory Eli Roth detail. Almost tantric in its agonisingly personal presentation and content, ‘Modern Ruin’ should be judged as a work of art rather than a collection of music, and in that respect alone it stands heads & shoulders above 99% of the puff in either the Tate or HMV.