Legendary Accept axeman Herman Frank has returned with a second platter of solo material, 'Right in the Guts'. With cover art only a mild variation of that adorning his 2009 debut solo record, 'Loyal to None', similarly, the music is more of the same...but that's exactly what would be expected of, and wanted from, the German guitar virtuoso so there's no disappointment on this front. Trad-metal underpinnings of numbers like 'Starlight', 'Falling to Pieces' and the title track are offset nicely against the power metal impetus of songs such as 'Ivory Gate', 'Waiting', and 'Lights are Out', all chock-full of huge, crushing riffs, breathtaking solo work, and memorable hooks (engendered by melody lines through both vocals and guitars). Songwriting-wise, 'Right in the Guts' sounds like an eighties album and one that's ignorant to any musical progression within the metal genre over the past three decades. However, Frank's compositions are delivered here with such a raw energy and utter conviction that to criticise it for a lack of innovation would be futile and entirely missing the point. Sure, it's loaded with trad-metal idioms and clichés but Frank himself was partly responsible for creating such idioms in the first place so why shouldn't the man embrace his own musical pedigree. Coupled with renewed mass interest in Accept's rejuvenation, there's a definite market for this sort of thing in the twenty first century so it's also a wise as well as sincere move in sticking to his roots.
Produced and mixed by Frank in his own Arena 20 Studios in Hanover, the overall sound of 'Right in the Guts' is fantastic with hard-hitting resonance in all the right places. Drums, bass and rhythm guitars have all been recorded with a sonorous oomph that's vital in conveying any sort of conviction from tried and tested metal traits and, as such, the album is at least contemporary sounding in production if not in composition. And then there's Frank's solo work (presumably Christoa Mamalitsidis' too as he's also been credited with guitar) which cuts through the mix with both sonic and virtuosic magnificence. Vocally, the album also shines with a fine performance from Rick Altzi who's better known as current frontman for At Vance. All in all, 'Right in the Guts' is as the title would have you believe - hard-hitting metal delivered with a genuine passion.
RIGHT IN THE GUTS
Review by Mark Holmes
25th June 2012
1) Roaring Thunder
2) Right in the Guts
3) Ivory Gate
6) Falling to Pieces
7) Raise Your Hand
8) Waiting; 9) Hell Isn't Far
10) Kings Call; 11) Lights Are Out
12) Black Star; 13) So They Run
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...it's loaded with trad-metal idioms and clichés but Frank himself was partly responsible for creating such idioms in the first place so why shouldn't the man embrace his own musical pedigree."