If you’re a younger reader you might wonder why Metal Hammer has decided to give coverage to that bloke that was on The Voice a couple of years back. Simply put, ‘that bloke’ happens to be Gavin Rossdale, and his band are one of the most commercially successful British rock bands of the last three decades.
Bush were never the most critically acclaimed band of the grunge era… in fact, they might have been the most despised, but that doesn’t mean they are devoid of any merit. However, their first two records – 1994’s smash hit, Sixteen Stone, and its antagonistic successor, Razorblade Suitcase, from 1996 – have actually aged far better than many of the more lauded Seattle bands of the time. A quarter of a century on from their commercial peak, and now eight albums in, and there are more than enough reminders on The Kingdom of why Bush were such a big deal.
The title track sounds as good as they ever have; catchy rhythms and huge stadium-sized choruses meet head- on with dark, punchy alternative rock power to glorious effect. Only Gavin and drummer Robin Goodridge remain from the band’s 90s heyday, but Bush played a blinder by adding former Helmet, Orange 9mm and Rival Schools guitarist Chris Traynor to their ranks when they reformed back at the start of the last decade. His knack for melody filtered through massive riffs are what drives this album, working excellently in tandem with Gavin’s deep, gravelly tones.
Unfortunately, Bush’s Achilles Heel has always been the frontman’s often cringeworthy lyrics, and on Bullet Holes he bemoans the ‘Sweat-stain in my blue suede shoes’ amongst other moments of GCSE C- poetry. It’s only occasional, and it rarely detracts from the quality of the best songs here, but it can be a mild annoyance on the weaker tracks. But on the whole, Bush are on fire.
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