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Monday, 2 July 2012

Reviews: Herman Frank, Heart Of A Coward, Ten Cent Toy

Herman Frank: Right In The Guts

The Accept guitarist releases his second solo album and it picks up where the bombastic debut Loyal To None left off bringing more of a Teutonic, speed metal attack than in his day job. The guitar playing on is fantastic but it's the song writing that is more of a surprise as Frank can still write great heavy metal songs. He kicks things off with the one-two punch of Roaring Thunder and the title track (which has some great riffage that makes up for some very dodgy lyrics). This album does feature a different vocalist (At Vance's Rick Altzi) than the debut (not that you can notice as they do sound very similar) they both have a voice not too dissimilar to Firewind's Apollo. This is a great metal album that also features the galloping bass of Running Wild's Peter Pichl which is very prevalent on So They Run and Kings Call. Mr Frank now has two cracking bands to take up his time and obvious expertise. However how much this band will be able to tour due to Franks commitment to the re-activated Accept, Pichl's to the also re-activated Running Wild and Altzi's commitment to At Vance remains to be seen. 8/10

Heart Of A Coward: Hope And Hindrance (Self-released)

A metalcore band that like to push the boundaries Heart Of A Coward have come as something of a revelation to me. I'm not usually a metalcore fan but they bring the off-kilter riffage of djent with the melody of Architects. The guitar playing is superb and both guitarists bring technical riffage that is buoyed by the tough heavy bass and smashing drums. The vocals are also great, mainly because I have liked Jamie Graham's work since he was in Sylosis. However HOAC do not sound like Graham's previous band as they do have more of a metalcore with Graham's vocals ranging from a clean sing, to a hardcore growl and then finally a guttural roar. The production brings to mind the wall of sound and with some great tracks like the battering-ram Around A Girl (In 80 Days) (which features a great guitar melody in the middle), the dreamy and melancholic Light which segues neatly into the heavy as rocks Shade and the progressive Break These Chains (Which may win a record for longest breakdown). This great album for those who like ferocity mixed with some great musicianship and a little experimentation. 8/10

Ten Cent Toy: Off The Grid (Self-Released)

Hailing from the forgotten wastes of Newport Ten Cent Toy have a distinctly futuristic flavour that sounds like a soundtrack to a Mad-Max movie. The band meld different kinds of modern metal to create an album of incredibly technical, mechanical, explosive metal. The band have some djent influences with the palm-muting of Jayu. They also have elements of sludge with the down-tuned riffage of Drone as well as a whole host of influences ranging from thrash (Contemptible) to industrial (Time In Memorial). The industrial is one of the most prevalent influences as the band have a distinct Fear Factory sound due to frontman Kev's vocals as well as the machine gun drumming from Fingerz. All of the guitars (including the bass) are also brilliantly technical and show great flair on all the tracks (there is also a cracking Bass intro on Last Word). In a word the band sound out from another time by fusing all of today’s modern sounds into one album. My only criticism is that the production does sound a little D.I.Y in places. This aside TCT are band of the future as they are playing the sounds of tomorrow today. 7/10

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