This is one of more unique projects I have heard in a while. Frank X is a guy from Quebec, Canada who has released an independent Metal concept album. While there is nothing especially unique about that, it is the execution of the project that makes it wonderfully strange.
The full title is the awkward FRANK X AND THE PROJECT:EARTH which doesn’t really roll off the tongue. It is apparently the first part of a trilogy about the evolution of mankind so perhaps we can assume Part II will be subtitled HEAVEN and Part III will be HELL? Frank is a one-man project who does everything, all writing, performances and recording of this singular vision that he has.
The music is a real wide variety of influences. His list of influences (taken from a social media site) include Devin Townsend, Haken, Piledriver, Dream Theater and Slayer. It all gets put into a cosmic blender and what comes out is this sort of weird progressive-industrial-thrash-symphonic-comedy thing. The word ‘thing’ is the only way I can think to describe it and the result is a 14-track hour long album of diverse sounds. The mix of sounds includes synthesizers, operatic choirs, big crunchy guitar riffs, acoustic piano, and a grinding mid-tempo. The production is OK, the vocals of Frank are mixed a bit too far back and there is a lot going on in each song. The arrangements are like mini-suites, not too many traditional structures and choruses, there is lots of stops and starts. In fact this sounds much more like an epic soundtrack and/or film score.
All of these dissimilar components somehow work well together and what ties it alltogether is the storyline. This is where the aforementioned comedy comes in. The whole album is peppered with narration and sound-effects. The funny story is basically about Satan’s plans to overthrow Heaven. He pretends to want to work with God and therefore God gives Satan a special project to work with, specifically planet Earth. (Hence THE PROJECT:EARTH) Satan’s job is see what he can do with it to make earth decent but of course Satan is secretly trying to make earth as horrible a place as possible. The opening narration sequence is hilarious and the album of loaded with bits of comedy and silly jokes. The only thing that diminishes the overall impact to my ears is that the narration is delivered in a thick French accent.
This project is fun, unique and really cool as well. Metal fans with diverse tastes and an open mind will really enjoy this. If Frank X had just a bit better production and exposure this could easily attain the status of a project like Ziltoid. FRANK X AND THE PROJECT EARTH is off the beaten path but well worth seeking out.
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