|Review: Herman Frank - Loyal to None|
|Loyal to None|
Label: Metal Heaven
Year released: 2009
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: March 9, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:Loyal to None
Rated 4.3/5 (86%) (30 Votes)
You know those times when you find an album that sounds awesome on the first listen, and then later on starts to weaken, sounding less good and powerful with time? This is not one of those albums, people! This is Herman Frank, ex-guitarist of Accept and axeman for several other bands that I have not heard yet, and if all of them are this good, you can bet I've got a lot of catching up to do. But first, a bit of history: Loyal to None is the debut album of Herman Frank's new self titled project, featuring members of Running Wild and on the rhythm section and none other than Jioti Parcharidis, of the late Human Fortress, on vocals.
History lesson over. This album rules! The style on display here is a heavy, driving style of Traditional Metal with big, searing riffs, fiery, electric leads, and a furious and bloodthirsty vocal performance that could put the fear of God into a fucking lion. The songs vary from charging Traditional Metal to a more Accept/ACDC-esque rocking sort of metal, with no ballads, no progressivism, no epics and no nothing except pure Heavy Metal the way it was meant to be played - just Herman Frank and his compadres churning out big, booming, crunchy cuts full of acrobatic guitar-attacks on the senses, perfect for working out, driving fast or just a good rocking, fun time.
Not to say that this is just simple and catchy, though - "Moon II," the album's pristine opener, features perhaps the best Traditional Heavy Metal songwriting I've seen in ages, surpassing "Tiger! Tiger!" and "Garden of Chaos" and matching "Night Prowler" blow for blow with an aural orgy of ear-splitting Heavy Metal solo goodness that would make Axel Rudi Pell blush these days, and a chorus that soars right to the moon (ha-ha). And the band doesn't skimp out on the quality after that, either, with songs like "7 Stars," the catchy "Bastard Legions," the absolutely fantastic arena stomp "Hero" and the screaming Metal assault of "Down to the Valley" all being stellar exercises in metal mastery that I doubt will be easily beaten in 2009. "Heal Me" is the other really awesome song here, with a slower, haunting stomp and a huge, hymn-wide chorus that will stay with you forever, with Jioti giving what is perhaps the best performance I've ever heard from him here.
You know what the best way to describe the songs on here is? Some Traditional Metal bands start off their songs in an absolutely furious, energetic, over-the-top display of metal might, and then sort of sink into a more relaxed and tame groove as the song progresses and the chorus hits. Well, not this album. Here, the songs sound like those opening intros carried out for an entire song, an entire four or five minutes. Each song aims its crosshairs at the stratosphere and ends up hitting a few inches above it, and that is the best thing about this superlative slab of steel.
Loyal to None is just a really great album. It won't teach you any secrets of the universe, and it might be snubbed by the kids who prefer the darker spectrums of metal, but for the aficionados of the old school, Herman Frank delivers the goods early on in 2009. This is the album to beat this year, folks, and the games have begun...
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