VICTORY - Don't Get Mad-Get Even - 2/5
In the same vein as my last review, this is yet another project featuring the axe carving of one Herman Frank. Discontented with the heavier than thou pounding of ACCEPT, Frank decided to jump ship and focus on a more Americanized sound with VICTORY. Comprised of seasoned veterans of the scene, the band reeked of melodic metal potential. Unfortunately, the self titled debut was an awful outing and contained a terrible performance by TED NUGENT cohort Charlie Huhn on vocals. Well, this sophomore effort ramped up the effort, and while not a great improvement, it did start to reveal the upside of where this band was headed.
Huhn's vocals this time around are improved. Suitable for the music featured on this album, a little raspy,with enough oomph to carry the meager requirements of this particular style of "hair metal". And that's really what this stage of VICTORY is, a firmly North American style of hair band rock album. Hampered by a dull production, the album thumps along as Huhn spouts every cliche in the party rock rule book. And I say "thump" very seriously, as this album plods and thuds along with very little change in velocity.
A major root cause for the meandering lope of the album is the standard, unexciting 4/4 signatures that Fritz Randow lays all over the effort. Normally an innovative and busy keeper of back beat, Randow seems stifled and base throughout the mediocre hard rock contained within. I'm at a loss as to what the thought process was concerning his restrained performance, but it relegates the album firmly in dinosaur clod rock territory. Disappointing.
The real reason to check out VICTORY is of course the arch guitar work of Frank himself. The first thing one notices is that he puts in an uncharacteristic "shred' style of playing. Overblown solos are flashy, but usually uninviting. He does show up with some monster riffing, as in the sturdy Not Me, the speed metal Are You Ready, and album closer(and best track) Running Wild. But for the most part, it is one of the most uninspiring performances of his diverse and heady career.
Not the best album in the VICTORY catalog, "Don't Get Mad-Get Even" might satisfy the most die hard of '80's style party rock fans, but ultimately falls flat due to the emaciated song writing, '80's style production, and dated hair band conventions. Think commercial ACCEPT(the awful Udo-less "Eat The Heat" in particular), mid tier KEEL, or standard KROKUS in terms of touchstones. A failure yes, but a few shards of light give hope for better efforts, and indeed, the band would go on to create some fetching melodic metal highs.
Highlights - Running Wild, Not Me, Are You Ready