Burton-upon-Trent punks Max Raptor are back in the limelight and frankly for good reason with this third full-length record.
Max Raptor comes as a follow-up to 2015 EP Damage Appreciation and features the title track from it as track 9/12, and was produced by Dan Weller [Enter Shikari, Young Guns, SikTh], so was in expert hands from the very start of the writing and recording process.
The record comes as a cross between hardcore, roots punk and good old rock n’ roll (as have their other releases), but this one gives another level the band have not reached on previous releases.
The vocal style throughout is excellent, keeping a very old-school technique while having a refreshing new crunch when combined with the excellently mixed instrumental, but particular credit has to go to drummer Pete Reisner, who keeps the beat going with ease and suits the punk vibe to a T. While the guitars aren’t particularly technical (which is to be expected of a good punk band), the mix leaves them gritty and messy which creates a definite mood to provide the backing for Wil to do his thing.
The influences of early punk bands are evident, especially in tracks like Day Release and When I Was A Gentleman which hold those really solid, huge “woah oh” gang vocals that create that finishing touch to the roughness to make it feel that next step up, but there are also elements that have clearly been brought about from touring with Press To Meco and a couple of moments (namely the styles of some song endings) sound reminiscent of them.
Standout tracks are the aforementioned When I Was A Gentleman and the far more bluesy Last Words which display how excellent this band is with a variety of styles, while keeping their fingerprint very much on the style.
Usually, weaker tracks get discussed to give a fair and balanced viewpoint but it can genuinely be said this record is made of 12 fantastic tracks for any occasion that will be the making of this band.
The technical highlight has to be the bass-mimicking of the guitar on several tracks but most evident on Day Release, where throughout the whole verse the bass plays the riff with the guitars to create a fully immersive instrumental that packs a massive punch like very few bands can deliver in the modern market.
This band are so underrated and deserve so much more exposure, and this release just goes to show they are at the very top of the modern hardcore game, which is hardly surprising considering their support slots with the likes of The Stranglers [2010 tour].