Album Review: Frenzy – Of Hoods and Masks

Album Review: Frenzy - Of Hoods and Masks
Reviewed by Sam Jones

I’ve had my eye on this album for a while now. The smooth polish and finish this album appears to harness just pleases me in the right way. Formed in 2014, out of Madrid, Spain, Frenzy are a heavy metal band who look to stem away from the rugged, vicious nature many metal bands aspire for, instead opting for a more fantastical yet inviting subject matter: Comic Books. The band’s whole shtick is revolves around superheroes and justice and retro ideals the golden and silver ages respectively spouted yet it’s done with the full seriousness of a band looking to produce strong metal material at the same time. Their first EP, Lethal Protector, released in 2016 but it wouldn’t be for another three years until Blind Justice, their first full length work, would be unleashed. Now, another four years on, the gears are once more running and teasing one track after another before fully releasing Of Hoods And Masks penned for a mid-April release. My question was: Can Frenzy balance the more whimsical nature of their subject matter with hard hitting music? Let’s find out.

Well, straight off from the album’s beginning we can identify that Frenzy are firmly entrenched amongst the retro style of traditional metal; their guitar attack is prominent, impactful but most importantly, it doesn’t overwhelm us. Their songwriting is very crisp herein, there’s no chance of our missing anything the band would rather have us listen in on. The riffs may have this especially clean aesthetic but Frenzy still ensured we can make out precisely what the riffs are playing at any given moment throughout the record, even if the drumming or vocals are taking a central spot during the band’s performance. I’d state it’s down to the mixing process, whereby the riffs feel outlined in something bold and easily discernible. Even when the guitar work falls away from the more impactful sequences, the riffs always have a clarity to them that forever allows audiences to keep up with where they’re going. There’s no risk of losing our place here.

What does strike me as surprising, and potentially joyous, is how straightforward Frenzy’s songwriting actually is. When you listen to the band play, and go track to track, there’s no inclination the band are preparing to throw you through some unexpected loop nor does their songwriting hint at something more intense on the horizon. Everything you hear about Frenzy’s songwriting can be inferred from the first few songs alone, and bizarrely, that’s something I found reassuring as I only continued my way through Of Hoods And Masks. I knew, carrying on, exactly what I was going to receive at the end the moment a track began and, while I imagine some may be disheartened by this absence of unpredictability, it lends Frenzy a sense of album security. If you like the first song, you’ll enjoy all the rest that follow. Frenzy aren’t here to mediate over what their audience should or should not be expecting, they get to the point because they understand what an audience wants to hear from: undiluted, stripped back heavy metal.

Album Review: Frenzy - Of Hoods and Masks

There’s a definitive NWOBHM atmosphere permeating through this record, yet it’s the kind that separates itself from many other likeminded bands. Instead of Maiden influence, Of Hoods And Masks really exemplifies that more suave Fist and Saxon aesthetic whereby the songwriting is simplified a tad more than their contemporaries would prefer, but Frenzy make this up by crafting music that feels more inclined towards getting fans on board with the journeys they’ll be joining them on. Instead of some journey through hell or a battle or overcoming some herculean force, Frenzy merely ask their audience if they’d like to go hell bent for leather on some wicked ride across the earth; will they crash and burn? Perhaps, but it’d be a heck of a story to boast of should we survive. It’s that gung-ho, let’s-do-it attitude Frenzy bring to their sound that makes this record only more addicting of a listen the further we delve into it. Bringing a wide smile to my face, I found myself air-guitaring to every tasty lick and turn the songwriting held for me; Frenzy are a traditional heavy metal band heartening back to an era where metal wasn’t always leaning towards all things evil and destructive. It could be fun and badass; attributes Frenzy possess in high quantities.

I must say their vocals are excellent as well; I wouldn’t outright say their frontman has a typically good singing voice, yet the way he’s able to twist his vocals into the delivery that best suits the band’s approach to metal is absolutely spot on. He’s able to evoke those Biff Byford vibes with total ease; his vocals are clearly on the narrower side of things whereby his delivery isn’t so boisterous and projecting as other vocal deliveries yet he’s able to imbue his performance with this attitude and lustre that can’t be turned away from. His delivery has highs and lows in pitch too, he’s able to speed up his performance when it’s needed in conjunction with the songwriting; whatever is demanded of his vocals he’s able to provide. It’s interesting to encounter a vocal performance that is just as engaging and dynamic as any riff on record here; this is far from a one-note vocal delivery. Like the songwriting itself, the vocals are alive and as active as the instrumentation is for one collective purpose: To keep the album moving.

In conclusion, Of Hoods And Masks is a wondrous ride from start to finish and one that I believe people are going to keep returning to, not necessarily out of intensity or how ruthless the songwriting was, because this is a record that just exudes heavy metal fun. It manages to be an enjoyable record you can stick on with your friends and know each and every one of you is going to have a great time with this in the background. It’s incredible reminiscent of retro metal of the early 80s, that NWOBHM style foremost, yet it thankfully doesn’t use it as a crutch; we can tell Frenzy have their own identity and while it may not be anything we haven’t heard prior, it’s clearly Frenzy’s own songwriting and vibe being channeled into this album. At a little over half an hour long, Frenzy kindly don’t hang around too long, they give us just enough material to get on board with and enjoy before signing off. That gives us time to process and reminiscent on the ride Frenzy gave us, before we make the realisation we can go back through all that again with minimal difficulty. This was a great listen and I’m grateful I got to listen to such a metal record as Of Hoods And Masks, I’ll be keeping a close eye out for more Frenzy material in the future. Pure heavy metal fun.

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