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HERMAN FRANK Fight The Fear

By George Mihalovich, Pure Rock Patroller
Tuesday, February 19, 2019 @ 8:06 AM


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HERMAN FRANK
Fight The Fear

AFM Records




What are the elements that comprise a worthy classic heavy metal-styled album? It's likely a debatable topic, but for the purpose of this review, the premise is that it must include memorable and melodic songs with great riffs, strong vocals, a pounding rhythm section and flashy lead guitar work ...

HERMAN FRANK returns to meet the above criteria with his latest eponymous offering Fight The Fear, the third record to feature vocalist Rick Altzi (AT VANCE - MASTERPLAN, SANDALINAS) — preceded by The Devil Rides Out (2016) and Right In The Guts (2012). The rhythm section of André Hilgers (ex-RAGE) and bassist Michael Müller (JADED HEART) remains intact from the previous effort, with the addition of second guitarist Heiko Schröder.

Herman Frank's personal stamp is all over this release. Aside from being the main writer, he co-produced it with Arne Neurand, giving it a distinctly German sonic character (think PRIMAL FEAR) — specifically, a hot, slightly compressed, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners mix. He allows himself ample room to stretch out during the solo sections (as usual), but this time his leads are noticeably more melodic and structured. Bearing all of this in mind, it is still a strong group effort, as Frank himself asserts: “Each of us plays an active part in our collaboration, and the result is a fantastic and highly constructive approach to our work.” The music would be far more pedestrian without these world-class players adding their distinct touches, with Rick Altzi's distinct bluesy tenor ensuring that the material realizes its full potential.

Fight The Fear is largely slanted towards up-tempo flamethrowers with plenty of precise double-bass (authoritatively provided by Anders); consider the standout opener "Until The End", the official music video for "Fear" and the official audio for "Sinners" as ample supporting evidence. The track list also blends in "Hail & Row" ("Heaven And Hell" mid-tempo groove); "Don't Cross the Line" (80s hard rock influence that manages to remain convincingly metal); and the closer "Lost In Heaven" (ballad). The summary point is that while the record is focused, there is enough variation to avoid being one-dimensional.

At this stage of his career, Herman Frank is an elder statesman in the German metal scene, and is best serving himself and his fans by making his own musical statements. Is it ACCEPT or VICTORY? No, and it doesn't need to be. The HERMAN FRANK band touches on elements of both, but has its own identity. Fight The Fear is an excellent addition to their catalog in the same vein as the previous release — taken up a notch.

4.6 Out Of 5.0


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