Label: Bongo Beat 2012
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Fraze Gang "2" is the full length follow-up to the 2006 debut by Canadian rockers and former Brighton Rock members Greg Frazer (vocals/guitar) and bassist Stevie Skreebs. In the press release this album is slated to be considerably heavier than what some people might expect. Moving two steps further away from the pure melodic schlock and one step closer to melodic metal?
But there's absolutely no need to worry as it's very much still the old eighties melodic metal sound at play. Perhaps a tad more arrangements in the vein of Judas Priest (especially and mostly heard on the opening track "Saint Or Sinner") and more importantly the early Dokken-flavored guitar riffing and the KISS/Gene $immons influence. The addition of guitarist Derek McGowan as a full time band member may have something to do with their sound. But to be perfectly honest, Brighton Rock sounded an awful lot like Dokken at times, no? Have a listen to the track, "White Lightning", and you'll notice the connection between fore-mentioned acts.
"2" speaks volumes in its 10 tracks of guitar rock and stomping material. Overall, the full but not quite massive sound captured here is still something to be commended, so close to full marks to renowned producer Beau Hill for his work behind the mixing desk and especially considering the budget. Known for his extensive work with '80s artists such as Ratt, Alice Cooper, Europe and Winger, etc, you know it's going to be pretty solid craftmanship. "In Your Face" comes straight at you with hypnotic mid-tempo swagger and rock in the vein of Black N Blue, Dokken, and Frazer/Skreebs' previous act while "Juggernaut" is pure Gene $immons' mixed up with the Fraze Gang.
There are two covers amongst the originals and they're not badly performed at all. First up, "I Just Want to Make Love to You", the 1954 old blues song written by Willie Dixon and legendary recorded by Muddy Waters. Obviously metal-tinted and with a twist that works out nicely in the end. "Don't Call Us We'll Call You" was orignally recorded by cult rockers Sugarloaf in the mid seventies. "Tough Enough" huff and puff along the track like chubby Gene $immons on a night out with the lads from Black N Blue. "This Is It" is however the only real downer as it's a standard power ballad with a great verse and a very disappointing refrain. Nah, "Never Want To Say Goodbye" is the ballad of the album. Final verdict: Old skool mid-tempo rock and recommended if you're into acts such as Black N Blue, Dokken, Gene $immons.