Album Reviews: GBH ‘Momentum’

October 27, 2017


Genre: Punk
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Label: Hellcat/Epitaph
Purchase: MP3 / CD / Vinyl

Nearly four decades of being a band and a 12 album discography is a triumphant feat for legendary UK punks - GBH. I often find it difficult to get into new releases from aged punk bands - especially when it's contrived with exhaustion and generic anthems. But GBH's 12th full-length album, Momentum, is in no way exhausted or dull. Sill active in 2017, GBH have toured tirelessly and have been featured at this year's Riot Fest in Chicago. And while remaining on the path of relevancy, the band still has it in them to pump out 12 new tracks - radiating with punk rock potency.

Momentum kicks off with "Birmingham Smiles," a barreling anthem about the bloody streets of Birmingham, England. "Everybody's got a hometown, not everybody's got a home," sings Colin Abrahall in his corrosive rasp - over chugging guitar riffs, pulsing bass-lines and brash drums. The song unites hooligan-esq streetpunk sing-alongs with fragments of metal and crossover thrash. Similarly, "Momentum," is another firecracker of a song - roaring with abrasive rhythm sections and jarring intervals.

GBH often veer towards the hard-hitting rock n' roll anthems that have been common from 2002's Ha Ha up to present day. Fist-pumping shout-alongs like "Tripwire Strange," "The Perfect Storm" "Fifty What?" and "Blue Sky Thinking," all seem to delve into post-90s streetpunk with fragments of blues-driven riffage. The closing track, "Liquid Paradise (The Epic) is driven by reggae undertones, savage rhythm guitars, and various surf leads - an overall dirty landscape of sound pulling from various influences.

GBH's discography has seen many changes in sound over the years. While early releases such as 1981's Leather, Bristles, Studs and Acne were the chaotic starting point - sharing common ground with Chaos UK, The Varukers and Discharge. With later releases, the band started adopting elements of metal and thrash. But post-90s, GBH have found a consist sound that they have stuck with. Momentum seems to compile every avenue the band has embarked on - some way or another - into each track. In retrospect, GBH has never put out a bad album.

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