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Cauldron of Evil
February 2010
Released: 2009, Metal On Metal Records
Rating: 3.0/5
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.
Track Listing

01. Dogs of War
02. Psychosis of the Mind
03. Axe to Grind
04. Trial by Fire
05. W.W.S.
06. Cauldron of Evil
07. The Devil's Eye
08. I Feel Your Pain
09. The Haunting
10. Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
11. Pray for Your Sins
12. In for the Kill*
13. Raise Your Fist*
14. Play Through the Pain*
15. It's Your Turn to Rock*
16. Play to Win*

* bonus tracks; Kyran Breannan on vocals and Robbie Erwin on bass on these tracks


Rich McManus - Vocals
Dr. Frankenshred - Guitar
Robbie Erwin - Bass
Greg Hall - Drums

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» Cauldron of Evil
by Luxi Lahtinen

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