Sound — 4
With a stripped back sound consisting of only gravelly electric guitar, drums bashed to within an inch of their lives and vocals even more aggressive than the forefathers of punk like Sex Pistols or Ramones themselves, the band are really making a statement with their music. What that statement is, I'm still not entirely sure but if you shout it loud enough like they do it doesn't even matter. Maidstone's own dynamic duo of lead shoutist/drummer Isaac Holden and guitarist/co-shoutist Laurie Vincent are bringing back the roots of punk rock to a younger generation in a music industry which is almost unrecognisable from the time when the genre's greats were clashing, protesting and offending monarchs. Making their name on the live circuit for their vigorous performances, it is no surprise that the best songs capture the excitement and insanity of the concerts. One of the shortcomings in the album is that some songs struggle to make this transition and the frenzied charm of the live shows fails to come across in Holden's at times, dulcet tones. One of the best aspects of this shouted style of vocals is that no song is sung the same when performing which will always be hard to capture in a recording. Despite this, they have been much more successful in doing so than they were with "Sugar Coated Bitter Truth."
Lyrics — 3
The lyrics too play an important part in "Are You Satisfied?" What they may lack in anti-establishment outcry or political messages in relation to traditional punk artists, they more than make up for with the delivery. The words come at a furious pace, bellowed or chanted and I can see the potential influences of modern UK grime and garage rap creeping in in the rhythmic way each line is belted out. In any case, politics isn't their main concern with the main focus of the lyrics centring around social commentaries and personal encounters. While this may be understandable, for me, punk has always been a genre of protest, constantly challenging the system and the lack of this emotional driving force behind the lyrics means that they sometimes come across as dull.
Overall Impression — 7
A remarkable album for what it's worth but Slaves are still growing as a band so the few shortcomings remaining in their act will be ironed out in time. You won't love every song but you'll like more than a few of them. It appears to me that, on the whole, Slaves have produced a style of punk which may differ from the originals but is actually very well suited to the modern listener. Essentially it is the slang-using, tracksuit-wearing teenage son of classic punk who can relate to the modern day audience. It is a classless genre, which can be appreciated by Jordan in Hackney as well as Gerald in Windsor. Unfortunately, acts as original as this are something of rarity nowadays but when one like Slaves comes around, it cannot be overlooked.