Sunday, August 17, 2008

When You See A Car With The Christian Fish On It ...

Frank's Enemy is an extreme metal band from Florida and despite their Christian leanings have been banned from both secular clubs and churches and youth group concerts for their extreme musical stylings. However, they have also garnered respect from the likes of Steve Rowe (Mortification)and Jason Truby (Living Sacrifice)who themselves have forged careers playing extreme Christian metal.

Before I get into the music, allow me to explain the bands name. Julio Rey once said that he had read an article that quoted Frank Zappa as saying ~When you see a car with the Jesus fish on it, you have seen the enemy~thus he must then be Frank's Enemy. Makes sense (Note the band logo is an F and E in the shape of the Jesus fish).

The album I'll be reviewing today is "Illumination" their third and final release. This is 15 tracks of chaos. It starts off with ska like guitar work before blasting us with fast sickly death metal on the opener "Frank's Enemy/Codebasher". This sets the listener up for the most extreme the following songs would get, but leaving it open to a few surprises.

Let me start with the death/black metal songs. The death metal vocals are virtually incoherent (which maybe why Christians were turned off)They are so sickenly low and distorted that they are like gurgling. I prefer the black metal shrieks that are interspersed in some of the songs and are more legible. The guitars are down-tuned extremely low and if I can quote the No Life Til' Metal website ~It must be like playing with wet spaghetti noodles~ . Prime samples of these songs are "My Night Alone", "John The Baptist Revisited" and "Dysfunctional". These tracks put the extreme in extreme metal. Frank's Enemy also play with some funky call and answer style vocals between death metal and clean, "Straight Up/Down" and "Antigod" which is a really cool effect especially with the thrashy guitars.

Speaking of thrashy guitars, I found the later half of the album heavily thrash influenced with the likes of "Nothing Changed" and "One For Them". Most notably the guitars just rip with thrash riff after thrash riff which makes the songs rather memorable and Julio Rey's vocals are clean and gruff.

The stand out tracks here are "Lamento" with its psychotic machine gun drumwork and melodic rhythms and acousticy interludes. "Friends In The Sky" is a mocking thrashy tune about life on other planets and such and is ridiculously catchy. "Serenity" the album closer is a salsa-y jazz like acoustic number with some nice violin work. A peaceful way to end an otherwise chaotic album.

There's also "Frank's Enemy Metro" which deserves special mention cause it's a technoy rave like tune bass driven with intermittent guitar riffs. It's alright I guess, but way to long.

My favourite track I would say is "Straight Up/Down". It has a funky bluesiness to it with death metal/clean vocal call and answer style and thrashy guitar work. It's lyrical message is also something I believe in. It basically is saying it's ok to have questions about God and religion, it doesn't make you less of a Christian. Talk about your questions or pick up the Bible and seek out your own answers, don't just accept what others say is right. And I say Amen to that.

Frank's Enemy are not so much breaking new territory, more like they have beaten and left for dead the familiar ground. This is probably the bands least assessible album, but it is also their most fun and original.

Up next, Virgin Black's "Requiem - Fortissimo" and Tyr's "Land" and then I'll move onto Savatage's catalogue.


Blogger Metal Mark said...

Sounds interesting.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Chana said...

hello handsome. glad to see that life goes on as it should. you written your reviews. today is the day i bite the bullet and ask what i have been wondering for you write reviews for a magazine? you should you know. you should send them in...

hope you and the family are well. i thank you for your kind thoughts and comments. they are a great gift to me.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Martini said...

I'm thinking of starting a "New Country" Thrash band. What do you think? You could be the line-dance co-ordinator.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Chana said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family my sweet.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Julio Rey said...

Thanks for the reviews. Nice memories.

BTW, I'm back to recording Frank's Enemy stuff on my own.

I put out a 4-song EP called Enraged in 2002 (using Virtual Drummmer for the drums...a little on the cheesy side) and am working on new tracks right now (using drum loops from BetaMonkey... somewhat less cheesy sounding).

I'm at and

9:46 AM  

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