Moon' Doc - Realm of Legends - 4.5/5
A continuation on a theme that my partner Mr. Bawden started, this album is yet another project featuring the stellar guitarist Herman Frank jr.. A key member of ACCEPT during their glory period - featuring on both "Restless and Wild"(quite possibly my favorite metal album of all time) & "Balls To the Wall" - as well as a current member of the reformed group sans arch belter Udo, Frank is truly one of the most prolific and tasteful metal guitarists to have entered the scene. MOON' DOC was yet another of his many collaborations, and is ripe for rediscovery.
Roping in VICTORY and SINNER cohort Fritz Randow for the crucial position of beat master, this album is really a showcase for both he and Frank, and an exciting proposition for drum and guitar enthusiasts. Both musicians propel "Realm of Legends" into classic territory, as they put in excellent performances that are woven beautifully into the tailor made tracks. Frank's guitar tone is crackling, as he slashes and scorches through each song, creating highly evolved and thrilling solos. Riffs are red hot and in complete servitude to the gorgeous melodies that caress almost every track. Randow keeps up his end, actuating the album with his double bass barrages, and stunning the listener with his imaginative fills. Loping and bombastic at once, he puts on a clinic in drum mechanics. Masterful.
It must be said that Frank and Randow aren't the only notable branch of this albums collection of musicians. Vocalist Jürgen Wulfes makes a deep impression as well, his bellows being an integral component of "Realm of Legends" assemblage. Barrel chested and leather lunged, he sings in a full on power metal style, but minus the frequent high pitches heard throughout the genre. The best way to describe his style is that he is a he-man's metal powerhouse. Throaty and expressive, one is reminded of David Coverdale at times, but more often his voice is reminiscent of the many raw yet authoritative speed metal vocalists that seem to grow on trees in Germany.
The production is full bodied, with the mix being clear and balanced. It is typical of the consistent Teutonic metal engineering, rarely have I heard an album from that region sounding inadequate. These guys know what they are doing, and it shows in the product. "Realm of Legends" is an excellent metal album for heating up ones amplifier, no doubt about it, the high class melodies souring out over the scorching playing beneath. The album sounds regal and crunchy in elegant union.
If I have a problem with anything on this splendid outing, it is that it closes out with a bit of a whimper. Next to last track, Point of No Return, is nothing more than a Hair Metal standard, one easily seeing it as a WHITESNAKE single, and then the album closes with a fairly uneventful instrumental. But this is small complaint, as the previous nine stormers more than elevate this jaunt into "must have' status.
The third MOON' DOC testament, and having never heard the bands previous two, "Realm of Legends" impels me to dig back and check them out(interestingly featuring vox by FREEDOM CALL's Chris Bay). A triumphant end to an interesting chapter in Frank's career, this is an album that bears fruit upon repeated listen, and never grows tired. Highly Recommended.
Highlights: Welcome To The Show, Iron Tears, (In The Name of) The Lord