Everyone knows Frank Turner. Everyone knows Frank Turner loves writing warm acoustic songs that soundtrack your life through good times and bad. Not everyone knows, though, that Turner is also quite fond of screaming himself hoarse at you, to extremely noisy guitars. Something he used to do in an amazing, socio-political, post-hardcore band called Million Dead, and that he's now doing with this band, Möngöl Hörde with former Million Dead drummer Ben Dawson and Sleeping Souls (Turner's backing band) pianist Matt Nasir on guitar.
First off, 'Make Way'. From the 'ONCE UPON A TIME IN MONGOLIAAAAAAAAAAAA' intro screamed alongside a riff that feels like swarming bees, it's clear that Frank hasn't lost his knack for great heavy music. The lyrics are random and fun; 'Straight out of Ulan Bator, a crazy motherfu**er named Genghis, riding on a tiny horse, torching the roofs of your homestead'; even if sometimes a little dumb: 'make way for the Mongol Horde coming back to fu** you up'. 'Weighed And Found Wanting' keeps up the momentum with a jumpy, funk-metal riff and an energetic 4/4 chorus. 'Tapeworm Uprising' is less bombastic, but just as effective with the springy guitars creating an unsettling vibe. 'Casual Threats From The Weekend Hardmen' sarcastically takes on 'lad' culture, with lines like, 'If you look at my back just one more time then you're a dead man'.
'Staff To Refund Counter' gives us the only weak moment of the album with 'What's the use in living long if we're all condemned to die?' It sounds extremely alien coming from a guy who has spent the better part of a decade writing mostly positive music. Even if you've been living under a rock and don't know of Turner and his success, it still sounds way out of place from the rest of the album that is just having silly, humorous fun.
The album gets back on track quickly enough though. 'Stillborn Unicorn' is the poppiest song on the album with Turner's vocals taking the raw, melodic turn he's known for and harking back to Million Dead's more harmonious moments. 'Winky Face: The Mark Of A Moron' will make you laugh out loud as it ends a short and speedy hardcore number with Turner calling the listener a d**k for using sideways smileys on messages instead of expressing thoughts with words. 'How Communists Ruined Christmas' may put off people who loved the left wing aspect of Million Dead, but does have an infectiously bouncy riff that will keep people interested. Album closer 'Hey Judas' is lyrically outrageous with Turner exploring the possibility of Paul McCartney and John Lennon time traveling to the future stealing songs and using them as Beatles songs in their own time.
Overall, this is a fantastic album that shows that arena gigs and huge album sales haven't killed the hardcore kid in Turner. Turner isn't the only great thing about this band though; Nasir's angular riffs make it a wildly brutal affair and Dawson locks it all together nicely with his ferocious rhythms. Don't listen to this if you're hoping it'll be remotely in the same vein as Turner's solo work. In fact, don't even listen expecting Million Dead Part 2; there's little emphasis on melody and Frank's lyrics are humorously bonkers as opposed to left wing politics fuelled. DO listen if you love heavy music and want to see an old pro show you he's still got it.
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