Released: 2009, Metal On Metal Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Frankenshred is kind of interesting 4-piece metal band from Phoenix, Arizona, that was formed in 1996. After their birth, the band has released 4 full-length studio albums of which the latest record, CAULDRON OF EVIL, is the band´s latest effort, containing 18 songs altogether (tracks 12-16 being sort of bonus tracks; featuring a different singer and bassist).
To describe their sound, it´s actually kinda hard to pinpoint exactly what genre of metal they actually represent. There´s some speed metal, some thrash, lots of heavy metal and even a terrible amount of these insane, so-called ´neo-classical´ Mr. Malmsteen/David Chastain type solo fests in Frankenshred´s sound, churned out courtesy of Dr. Frankenshred. Most of the time these fellows rely on pretty fast tempos on this album, but sometimes I cannot avoid the feel that Dr. Frankenshred´s multiple solos simply overtake the songs - from time to time anyway. He´s the guy who takes his fretboard gymnastics seriously - maybe sometimes even too seriously when ears turn to follow his rapid soloing more than a song as wholeness. Is it a good or bad thing, I think it´s up to every individual listener to decide. The fans of guitar heroes will surely love them, there´s not a shadow of doubt of it.
Also, there´s one song on this album that is entirely played by bass. The song is called "W.W.S.". To me it brought Joy DeMaio´s muscle exercises and macho-like acting on stage to my mind with his well-oiled battle axe, and that´s basically it only. The song itself is nothing but a kind of unnecessary act of bass machismo after all. A sum of coincidences can always lurk behind the corner, but is it pure coincidence how the vocals in "The Devil´s Eye" has been made to rhyme, "Invader" by Iron Maiden flips in my mind more than just occasionally? Kinda interesting anyway, and we can always speculate this til´ we forget what was this issue all about again.... ;o)
Everything on this album is pretty solid and traditional American metal that has sucked quite a few different sub-genres of metal in. And in fact, now thinking a bit carefully, it´s actually kind of refreshing to hear all those Yngwie Malmsteen-ish/David Chastain-ish type of solos played in the record even if sometimes they tend to steal quite a lot of attention away from the songs, and just overtaking them. Oh well, it´s probably my headache only. Dr. Frankenshred is quite a guitar demon and kinda phenomenal even, to be honest.
Based on the somewhat positive impact CAULDRON OF EVIL had on me, I may want to check some of their previous three albums out as well. I have to say that Frankenshred was a pleasant, new acquaintance to me all in all of which I am kinda happy about.