Frenzy: 'Lethal Protector' (EP)
(Underground Power Records, 2016)
In the last few years, metal music has reached an uncanny level of variety and influence. However, among the plethora of bands in existence, some must preserve the essential characteristics of metal: Frenzy is one of those bands.
And such essences can be collected under three 'S' words: Speed, Savagery and Skill. Because exploring the abysses of mind and the limits of six-or-more-stringed instruments is nice indeed, but every metal heart out there wants to engage in the rapturous excess that has always defined the brutal frontiers of rock.
Using Speed Metal sound as their main source (American Speed Metal, of course, but they also show their knowledge of the Teutonic and Japanese scenes) Frenzy introduce themselves with a brief yet intense EP. Intelligently harmonised shred guitars join a rhythmic section that manages to keep its sharpness even in the most dizzying sections. Their songs feature amazingly careful construction and design: despite their short length and relatively simple structures, they showcase so many solos, riffs and choruses that the listener finds him or herself deeply flabbergasted, like a stargazer that finds a shooting meteoroid upon the sky's dome and wishes for a second, just one more second, to observe its beautiful disintegration.
The names of band members and their past successes are not important: they are nothing but the civilian identities of a superhero squad. Their superpower is to bring the adventures of other superheroes into words and music: American comics are the main source of lyrical inspiration to the band and an ideal complement to the simple yet effective pyrotechnics of the instrumental section.
The essences that the band preserves can be collected under three 's' words: Speed, Skill and Savagery
'Lethal Protector', the first song and single from the EP, revolves around the Venom Symbiote, one of the most dangerous aliens of superheroic fiction. It opens with a solo that announces the metallic path the band is going to follow: razor-sharp, full of scales and fast. The minimalist yet effective song structure manifest itself divided by powerful solos that cut through the verses that recount the first adventures of Venom: his union with Peter Parker, his expulsion and his return with Eddie Brock to take revenge against the Spiderman. A robust song that is without a doubt the best one in this collection and one of the reasons why seeing this band live could be a metal music celebration in the most classic sense.
'Change To Green' is a more paced, hard rock song, in which the clear and sharp voice takes the main role. Bruce Banner himself tells us about his radioactive curse, the one that causes him to turn into the Hulk whenever he is furious or desperate. Sounds straight from the seventies and several glam "accidents" make their way into this comet of a song, showcasing the band's scope of influence, that goes far beyond their Speed Metal fixation.
Frenzy fulfils our expectations with a show that is fast, explosive and full of fantasy
'Sin City Calls' is the longest song on the EP, and it serves as an introduction of several elements that had been deliberately concealed in the previous songs. It takes us from Los Angeles to London with the help of one strong riff and guitars that are caressed with an unavoidable Iron Maiden touch. The interplay between some of the solos and the "structural" riffs takes our trip further north, to Hamburg, where some elements from the scene that saw the birth of Power Metal find their way into the album, solidifying the notion that this band manages to craft a retro sound that is not devoid of fusion and certain adventurousness.
The band arranged for their friend Johnny Blaze to come riding his flaming motorcycle of justice to close the album. 'Ride to be Free' sees the Ghost Rider righting many wrongs between Hell and the Interstate Highway System. The guitars, coming straight from Mephistopheles closet, speak with an incredibly European accent, a fact which should not surprise us if we take into account what are the legendary origins of that demon. The interplay between bass and drums is so fast that sometimes it seems to surpass some barely perceptible guitar notes, a fact that enhances the fast feeling of this ride for justice.
The last cut is a cover version of Racer X's 'Loud and Clear'. The American band is, without a doubt, the main influence of Frenzy, so they play this cover with reverence and a deep knowledge of the tricks and techniques of classical speed metal, spiced up with good production values.
In conclusion, this is a retro-style Speed Metal EP that won't shatter the musical world, and it is difficult to imagine a world where the adventures of our favourite superfriends would be something more than fables to entertain tired minds. But that is what we demand when we go to a concert: a show that is fast, explosive and full of fantasy, one that slices our reality in two and floods it with dreams and liberating imagery... and lots of fun. That are some of our main demands to metal, and while bands like Frenzy exist, that demands will be fulfilled.
Review dedicated to the memory of Umberto Eco, the man that showed the Academia that comics mattered.
Text: Dimas F. Otero
There's more in http://frenzymetal.bandcamp.com/album/lethal-protector-e-p