It’s been a while since I’ve hit the play button and almost immediately had my air guitar out and head a banging. I dabble in the vast majority of the labyrinth on Metal subgenres but you know what it is? Sometimes the genre works best when played like it was meant to be. From the get go, I’d say to anyone who has maybe found themselves drowning amidst a sea of clinical Extreme Metal, almost suffocated by regressive “Progressive” Metal and possibly just a little sick of the genre as a whole to buy this immediately.
Taking everything we loved about RAINBOW, JUDAS PRIEST, ACCEPT and SAXON, and catapulting the sound bang up to date with vibrant production Herman Franks sophomore effort couldn’t be any more fun if it tried. Ever so slightly surpassing “Loyal to None“ in terms of quality if not content, “Right in the Guts” is pure magic. One thing I can wholeheartedly say is superior to the debut is the addition of Rick Altzi’s vocal talents, never have I been as sold on his vocals as I have here. He sounds powerful, confident and the actual vocal lines are quality, even rivaling Mr Frank as the star of the show.
On the subject of Herman Frank himself, he really puts forth an energetic performance, wielding some of what I think are the best riffs he’s penned. The verse riff in “Vengeance” has basically had the effect of musical crack on me, I just can’t shake it and keep coming back for more, pure awesome. Although really everything is smoking across the board, there isn’t one moment where I’m sat thinking “well this part is a little dull”. From the glistening melodic tendencies of the WHITESNAKE on steroids semi-ballad “Falling to Pieces” to the trailblazing riffage of opener “Roaring Thunder”, the smoking lead guitars in “Hell isn’t Far” to everything around, and in between; “Right in the Guts” kills.
If I were to pick any slight faults it would be that “Right in Your Guts” is slightly below the quality of the others, sounding fit for an UDO album - especially in the chorus – which is good enough but wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, especially from track two. That aside, “Right in the Guts” is sheer bliss, and any self respecting Metal fan should pick it up right away. Performances are quality across the board, the songs are well written with enough hooks to keep you coming back, but above all this just full on kills. Highly recommended!
(Online July 9, 2012)