In the interest of full disclosure, my enjoyment of comic books during childhood and up to today was/is limited to the classic G.I. Joe, Judge Dredd, Werewolf By Night and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. Heavy Metal, though, hunted me down around age 12-13, and I either went willingly, or am still in some Stockholm Syndrome-like “phase” that hasn’t ended over three decades later.
And, thus, when FRENZY’s debut album came across my desk, the idea of a true Heavy Metal band inspired by comics at least caught my interest, which means I’m about to either really enjoy or really hate the next 40-odd minutes of my life. From the opening gallop of the title track, it’s clear the quintet’s heart is in the right place, if nothing else, American-born vocalist Anthony Stephen leading the Madrid ensemble through a passionate tale driven by a solid rhythm section. ‘Killing With A Smile’ is less metal than hard rock reminiscent of Metal Health-era QUIET RIOT, but loses nothing for its “lighter” approach, and abbreviated instrumental ‘Twilight Of The Sapiens’ shows the Pinedo/Diaz guitar duo to have a keen sense of the dynamic, neither overplaying to flatter their own proficiency nor underplaying due to lack of effort. ‘We Are The Future’ stands triumphant, Stephen proving himself an invaluable element in FRENZY, knowing his range, and being comfortable enough within it to use his voice to great effect while keeping free of siren wail or faux-aggressive snarl. While ‘Velocity’, as expected, flirts with speed metal, it and ‘Mad Ball’ fall a bit flat in that – while not “bad” by any stretch – they don’t really bring anything lasting to the table either. Thankfully, interest is reclaimed by ‘Annihilated By My Sound’ and closer ‘Shred Or Die’.
There is absolutely nothing current at work within Blind Justice and, to be fair, this album could have been released in the mid-‘80s. Far from a down side, though, I’m confident that had it been, it would’ve stood proudly beside all that makes us old curmudgeons refer to that time as true metal’s “glory days”.
Review By: Lord Randall
Underground Power Records
3.5 / 6