SKILLET w/, Red Gazelle & RedHook Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney Thursday 15th November, 2018 …
When German heavy metal band Farmer Boys announced their return in 2017, it was clear that these groove-metal activists had, after an extended break, something big in the works.
Formed in Stuttgart in 1994, their last album was 2004’s The Other Side, and fourteen years later, Farmer Boys have retuned with their aptly titled fifth album Born Again. Originally notorious for their grim depictions of the agricultural industy’s dark underworld, Farmer Boys have reignited the antiestablishment flame in a timely, sophisticated way, with a poignant critique the cesspit of modernity in an album of eloquent rage with Born Again.
Born Again is angry, dark, and epic, yet it is articulate and sophisticated, musically and lyrically.
Born Again brings together musical influences from groove metal, industrial rock, and more classic hard rock sounds, driven by the rhythm section of Ralf Botzenhart’s punchy bass and Timm Schreiner’s powerhouse drums, in particular on Fiery Skies. The stadium-filling dimensions of this sound is given resonant decoration with Alex Schlopp’s heartfelt soloing in the inspiring track Stars. Vocalist Matthias Sayer has done significant work in the interim, composing cinema score and this shows throughout Born Again, from the forboding instrumental opening through the the epic, immersive closing title track. On mesmerising tracks such as Faint Lines, we are reminded that Sayer’s vocal integrity is astounding; it is a sound that genuinely drills into the solar plexus.
Lyrically, Born Again is a hard-hitting album, that pulls no punches on its thematic agenda. Even the mellower tracks such as You And Me is more of a ballad to a brother-in-arms, than any kind of lover. Disenchantment seeps from Isle Of The Dead, featuring haunting cello from Max Lilja [ex-Apocalyptica], in which we gradually realise that this bleak place is the modern reality that surround us. Ultimately, Farmer Boys unleash the unsubtle call to arms for revolution itself, in the directly aggressive closing songs, Revolt and Born Again, indeed, through apocalyptical renewal.
Born Again is angry, dark, and epic, yet it is articulate and sophisticated, musically and lyrically. Farmer Boys are back, and back with passion and a mission. Born Again may well be an album for the times; a profound testimony to an age of decay and systemic overlordship.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Faint Lines, Isle Of The Dead, Born Again.
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Rammstein, Machine Head, Rage Against the Machine.