|Review: Frank Gradeen - Return of the Vikings|
|Return of the Vikings|
Year released: 2023
Genre: Metal/Hard Rock
Review online: April 23, 2023
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
for:Return of the Vikings
Rated 4.08/5 (81.67%) (12 Votes)
I covered an advance single from Frank before and was largely underwhelmed with its repetitive songwriting and bad vocals (I get they were meant to be a goofy Dracula impression, but that doesn't make them better). As it turns out, that was for an album that I missed, so not sure how the rest of it measured up, but far be it from me to dismiss a band from one iffy single, so I decided to give Return of the Vikings the benefit of the doubt when it came across my desk.
Much like the single, this album is all about crunchy '80s metal with more than a bit of hard rock in its DNA. Frank has a solid ear for punchy riffs, rocking solos, and fist-pounding vocal lines, and with a sound this straightforward and bare bones, that's about all you need. I will say the songwriting has a bit more going on than I would have expected, though I still find it gets too repetitive and ends up leading to songs overstaying their welcome despite their brevity. Frank's vocals are also a mixed bag, for while there's no silly impressions and he has a fairly beefy gravely delivery, his clean vocals are weak and mostly get overshadowed by the rest of the music. With song titles like "Earwig Man" and "Kill our Face", it's pretty obvious he has no ambitions outside of making old-school metal that's uncomplicated and fun, but I'd say he needs some stronger vocals and just a bit more variety if he wants his audience to have as much fun as he is.
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