I’ll be honest, this is the first time I listen to any of Frank Herman’s solo material. I know him from his years in Accept and Victory, but once the first notes of “Two For a Lie” started blasting, it was clear as water where this album comes from. Ladies and gentlemen, grab your battle jackets, black boots and aviator sunglasses because this album is pure and unadulterated German Heavy Metal. Nothing more and nothing less. It has all the ingredients that you know and expect: driving guitar riffs, soaring vocals, anthemic choruses and a big seal of badassery.
The album opens strong with “Teutonic Order”, a fast-paced song that will have you headbanging from start to finish. “Venom” comes next with its Hard Rock driven riff, nothing to write home about but a very enjoyable song all in all. The album keeps its high with “Hate” and what I think is my favourite song in the album: “Eye of the Storm”. Seriously, this epic rocker of a track has a chorus that will stay in your head all evening. Unfortunately, it is towards the middle of the album where I think “Two For a Lie” starts slumping a bit. “Liar” is one of the most average songs I have heard in a while, sluggish at times and a bit awkward in general. “Hail the New Kings” “Danger” and “Just a Second to Lose” are decent tracks but again, nothing spectacular.
And that is exactly my issue with this album, it is easily one of the least adventurous and safest albums I have ever heard. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as this album is definitely a very enjoyable collection of songs, and if you are a fan of German Heavy/Power Metal you will probably love it, but I just feel it could have taken more risks to further enhance the listening experience. Frank’s guitar chops are excellent and there are seriously good riffs, but sometimes they fail to make the songs a very memorable experience. It also doesn’t help that there are sections where the lead guitar seems to be very buried in the mix and misses the mark to give a different texture to songs that are already very rhythm oriented. Same with the drums, they are rock-solid and fat but rarely given room to be spectacular. Rick Altzi’s vocals are on point, but he is a bit of an acquired taste in my opinion. I have never been a big fan of his work with At Vance and Masterplan, but I definitely believe his style fits much better in a band like Herman Frank’s and his rougher approach to metal.
To my pleasure, the album closes with two absolute bangers: “Stand up and fight” is a killer song, with its catchy hooks and raw power, and “Open your mind”, an anthemic track that is the perfect choice to close a 40+ minute long overdose of True Heavy Metal. Overall “Two For a Lie” is a perfectly well-executed collection of head-bangers that ticks every box in the Heavy Metal book, but somehow seems to miss the chance to make it a more memorable experience.
Album highlights: Teutonic Order, Eye of the Storm, Stand Up and Fight, Open Your Mind
For fans of: Accept, Rebellion, Grave Digger, Primal Fear
Release Year: 2021
Label: AFM Records
Reviewed by Roman Ibarra