A household name in hardcore punk return with an album fit for fans of the genre.
A band that has the confidence to label themselves as ‘the greatest punk rock band in the world’ must certainly have a point to prove. Well, for 15 years now, The Bronx have been grafting away to produce a legacy that will justify this statement. There’s no denying that they possess a strong discography, the magnitude of fans that they have accumulated throughout their years speaks for itself. After a 4-year silence since their last release (as The Bronx, as opposed to their alter-ego, Mariachi El Bronx) in 2013, it’s safe to say that fans will be very satisfied with this album.
Opening with Night Drop at the Glue Factory and Stranger Danger, the listener is immediately greeted by what we have come to expect from the band. Raw tenacity and venom-fuelled punk music come as second nature to these guys. A considerable portion of the album follows in a similar vein; Fill the Tanks, Sore Throat and Broken Arrow all satisfy the same mould of fast-paced punk carried by spiteful vocals and dizzying guitar riffs. It’s cool, but after a few tracks, one might argue that the initial punch pales slightly.
Thankfully, The Bronx manage to demonstrate versatility at a number of points throughout V. Tracks such as Side Effects and Two Birds encompass a sound that harks back to a more traditional rock ‘n’ roll vibe. This warrants respect, there are very few bands around today that manage to create honest to god rock music without it sounding forced and artificial.
The vocals of frontman Matt Caughthran are undoubtedly integral to the outfit. The rasp of his voice effortlessly satisfies both of the dynamics that have been previously outlined. He possesses the mettle to not only keep up with the pace set by the band but at points exceed it during the hardcore tracks. Simultaneously, he intrinsically boasts a howling whine reminiscent of the likes of Axl Rose or Steven Tylor – a comparison that is not to be taken lightly. Another hugely impressive aspect of The Bronx is the guitarists’ songwriting prowess – they certainly know how to spin a riff – it is the more rock ‘n’ roll tracks that highlight this best, make sure you listen out for them.
Overall, V is a fine album. There’s nothing revolutionary or game changing here by any means but it is a solid punk rock album. One thing that is abundantly clear is the band’s passion for their music and the genre as a whole – this sort of commitment comes naturally and is perfectly present within their craft. There is plenty on offer here and fans will find plenty to enjoy throughout this album, however, one can’t help but feel that ‘the greatest punk rock band in the world’ should be blowing listeners away with every listen.