Metal Heaven (2012)
It’s a great time to be Herman Frank these days. His work as one of the twin guitarists in Accept has led to two critically exceptional albums in recent years- plus a blitzkrieg of sold out touring and festival escapades in all four corners of the globe. In 2009 his “Loyal To None” solo record also received accolades, a fine piece traditional power metal and hard rock where he got the chance to flex his songwriting and outstanding run ability. “Right In The Guts” features a shift in members, with only Running Wild bassist Peter Pichl remaining from the previous album- Herman recruiting second guitarist Mamalitsidis Cristos, drummer Michael Wolpers and veteran vocalist Rick Altzi (At Vance, Thunderstone, Sandalinas) to record these 13 tracks.
It’s as if Herman is taking cues from his main bread and butter act when it comes to songs like “Roaring Thunder”, “So They Run” and the mid-tempo stomper “Hell Isn’t Far”- they all feature an immediacy in terms of either a guitar hook or comfortable vocal melody that provides instant connection with the classic tenets of heavy metal. Rick plays to his 70’s hard rock pioneers in terms of how he approaches the material- Mike Di Meo, David Coverdale and Tony Martin would be three similar singers to compare his phrasing and power through the pedal to the metal material like “Ivory Gate” next to a more comfortable epic march through “Kings Call”. Michael Wolpers keeps the double bass chops free flowing, giving a song like “Vengeance” a more exotic flavoring especially with the tricky introduction but he also proves he’s just as able to keep a simpler, steady 4/4 groove in a more emotional number like “Falling To Pieces”.
Normally I would say 53 minutes of an album contains at least one or two average to below average fillers- not the case with “Right In The Guts”. Herman keeps his eyes on flattening the competition with thick, juicy riffs and songs that make you cheer, clap, whip your head around and clamor for more. Let’s hope some touring action kicks in at some point for this solo band- the material is too good not to be heard by tens of thousands in unison.
Rating: 5.5 / 6
Composedby Matt Coe