Strange as it may seem, I’ve got one mate who doesn’t like music. Usually, I don’t trust these people, but he brings biscuits to cricket, so…

The other week we were on the way back from one of these aforementioned cricket gatherings and trying to educate him. So I put on one of my all-time favorites. The opening riff hit, and I saw his face in my rear-view mirror. The poor chap looked genuinely troubled. Granted, “Killed By Death” might not be the best tune to choose, but in for a penny and all that, so I followed it up with a cheery: “Here, we’re going to see these tomorrow, why don’t you come?” and played him “We’re The Bastards” while explaining the links between the first band and Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons. By this point, he looked genuinely scared. So, me and the other passenger went to Nuneaton’s Queens Hall on our own, and the Bastards were ace. The Bastards are always ace. Every damn time. And their records are always likewise.

“Kings Of The Asylum” is their third full-length studio record and the first with new singer Joel Peters. I’ve said this before, but he’s taken the band up a notch live, and evidently, he fitted in perfectly in the studio too.

The key to all this comes in the second track. “We’re the misfits and we can’t be tamed / ‘Cause we are the bastards and we are not ashamed” goes the first line (and who knows what my mate thinks of this?) It is a simple homage to excess, to rock ‘n’ roll, to life. That’s it. That’s what PCATBS are for. Phil and Todd Campbell have pushed themselves with the riffs this time too. “Walking In Circles” opening punch would have filled the stadium they’ve just played with Guns N Roses (the day before I’d seen them in a Warwickshire pub; that’s what they’d been doing) and Ty joins in with the bass riff to “Hammer And Dance.”

More than anything, though, these are just brilliant hard rock songs. “Strike The Match” is one of those. Perhaps the best one here, actually, but pretty much anywhere you look, there’s a fabulous one.

“Schizophrenia” (they played it at the recent shows) has a harder edge. The title track has a blues groove and surveys the modern world, deciding it doesn’t like it much (if I were a betting man, I’d wager it might have the current government in its sights).

Now, if you need me to tell you who Phil Campbell is, then a) I’m not going to, and b) you’re reading the wrong site. I will absolutely say, though, that “The Hunt” is the most Motorhead sounding, and I’ll leave it there.

There were one or two punk covers creeping into the set recently, and “No Mercy” has a flavour of that. “No Guts! No Glory!” is as heavy as this gets, and it’s as vicious an attack on warmongers as you’ll find.

“Ghosts” has the effortlessly huge sound as the early ones on the record did, but you sense they all enjoyed “Maniac” – the last one. Phil dusts off his “Goin’ To Brazil” boogie for a potty-mouthed rant that I will be amazed if it’s not a fixture in the live set next time around.

And it’s stages where they belong. But where Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons differ from many is that they display their live energy on record too. “Kings Of The Asylum” is no different, and that’s no mean feat.

Rating: 8.5/10

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