REVIEW: HERMAN FRANK – “Fight The Fear”
Herman Frank’s career is nothing to frown upon, as he’s been a reliable member of Accept in his time with the band, as well as one of the mastermind’s of hard/heavy powerhouse Victory, not to mention his works as producer and mixing staff for several acts. His eponymous band, not long ago, had the job of cutting ties with Accept’s new style of play, which they did really well until today, as their new album, ‘Fight the Fear’, successfully manages to be characteristic in its own way.
Counting on the thunderous vocals by the likewise experient Rick Altizi (At Vance, Masterplan, ex-Thunderstone) and André Hilgers (drums, Silent Force, ex-Rage, ex-Vanize, ex-Sinner, ex-Axxis), as well as competent members Heiko Schröder (guitars) and Michael Müller (bass), the German riff-master relies once again on solid musicianship and straight-up, no frills heavy metal akin to that of the 1980’s.
Ballsy, filled with attitude tracks like opener “Until the End”, follow-up “Fear” and “Hitman”, for instance, show the tried and true formula used by the German axeman and company. The main course here, in fact, is like any other Herman Frank album: hard as steel, blood pumping metal majesty suitable for punching your enemies in the nuts or lifting a million pounds in the gym. “Hatred” and “Hail & Roll” do that job really well by pushing you with their speed and pace.
The choirs in the choruses and the “rock ‘n’ roll is our way of life” attitude have a classic Teutonic vibe, as can be seen in the main parts of “Are You Ready” or in the duo “Stay Down” and “Rock You”. Despite the simplistic lyrics and straightforward instrumental – leaving room only for Frank to display his prowess most times – these are also good moments considering the album’s proposal.
There isn’t a real highlight during most of the record, as every track feels heterogeneous and familiar, but the final part of the effort holds a precious gem. “Wings of Destiny” is fierce, bombastic and epic in the right amount, contrasting with the constant atmosphere provided thus far. It’s by far the best song in the album and one of Herman Frank’s best ever, as the verses and bridge feel fresh and organic, while the chorus completely blows away every bit of safe-playing you’d expect from a traditional heavy metal album.
The rest of the tracks range from ok to good; “Don’t Cross the Line”, “Sinners” and “Terror” are well crafted and provide decent juice to the experience, while less valiant attacks like closers “Waiting for the Night” and “Lost in Heaven” are not quite on par with the other songs, probably because there’s less power and more cadency in them.
I have an issue with the album, though. FOURTEEN songs are only OK if we’re talking about 3-minute pounders, but each song here ranks at the 5-minute mark, making the record an hour of basically the same rhythm and construction. This is tiresome for when you actually sit down and pay attention to every detail (which is something I NEED to do as a reviewer), so my thought on this is that the whole experience will be better served as background music.
‘Fight the Fear’ is yet another quality release by Herman Frank, especially in the sense of continuity and sticking to the band’s – and Herman’s own – roots. Although not essential (even unmemorable often times), the album will definitely please those seeking for a laid back, enjoyable taste of Teutonic heavy metal played by the books, which is always a nice alternative to more dense experiences. If you liked their past work ‘The Devil Rides Out’ (2016), you’ll enjoy this.