11 December 2015
“And you could be there…”Zoom in. You’re down the front at The Forum. New Model Army are playing up a storm, and Justin Sullivan has put you right in the head of a religious extremist. They started with the never-more-appropriate-than-right-now-when-we’ve-just-started-bombing-in-Syria “Bloodsports”, a song which in itself encapsulates the endless War On Terror, from the packing of bullets to the bombing raids and slaughter to the impact on personal and community relations back home in the space of three minutes. They let it form a state-of-the-world triptych with angry classic “Christian Militia” at its centrepiece, rounded off by “Breathing”, an intimate glimpse into the mind of a terrorist atrocity survivor. As a statement of intent, it’s powerfully intense. As the opening to a rock show, it kicks ass. Zoom out. Take a breath.
They’re not afraid of self-contradiction, because life is complicated. As Justin himself points out, they’re a band of contrasts, who will quite happily follow the poundingly percussive “Between Dog And Wolf” — a beautiful expression of human devotion — with “Angry Planet”, a moshpit-friendly howl in the face of an world become infested with humans and wreaking its revenge.all but strips the paint from the walls in its blistering fury. “Another Imperial Day” sees Justin delivering its spoken vocal as poetry, breathless and impassioned, as the band fill the space with an ambient horror soundtrack entirely fitted to its tale of human traffic. Zoom out. they plunder their own history with sheer gleeful abandon. Significantly, they’re not playing “Vengeance” on this tour; Bloodsports‘ “I Am Not At War” seems like a far more appropriate message in the current climate. they have such sights to show you, such feelings to share. one of the finest, tightest and most kick-ass rock bands in the world today playing “Green And Grey”, that bitter-sweet paean to England’s countryside… and then blowing it all up with “I Love The World”, the ultimate elegy to a wonderful planet delivered by a man watching it all burn. New Model Army. An awesome band fronted by one of the greatest living lyricists. A combination like that, even after 35 years, remains unstoppable. Epic win.
-Words: Justin Farrington-
-Pictures: Samantha Penny-