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Crossroads > Hype > Reviews > bayern
Crossroads - Hype

Stop Pushing Our Music over the Borderline - 77%

bayern, May 25th, 2021

Nah, I doubt if anyone has ever done that, but the truth is that this team here remain a near-obscurity despite the three full-lengths and an EP that beckon prominently from their discography… not to mention that nearly the same line-up had two other albums released in the mid-80s under the name Fact… incredible, but a fact. And not only, but the music on the Fact releases was fairly cool classic heavy metal, racing with the better moments from the repertoires of their compatriots Accept, Bonfire, and Scorpions.

Then the vocalist and mainman Reent Froehlich took part in the X-Mas Project in 1986, a collaboration of German metal luminaries (Rage, Living Death, Steeler, Holy Moses, etc.), and after this stint he decided to pull the plug on the Fact franchise. Standing at a crossroad in the early-90’s, he and his teammates voted to disregard the oncoming numetal vogues, and to stick with the retro metal canons. Well done, and the debut was a faithful sequel to the Fact tunes, bouncy but also melodic hard’n heavy that proudly carried the old school fact… sorry, flag all the way.

There wasn’t much hype, if any at all, around the album reviewed here when it showed up, but there should have been as the band have come out with another collection of cool retro metal tunes, again paying no attention to the groove/aggro craze that was running rampant at the time. If we exclude the meek balladic opener “.45”, a not very auspicious introduction, the rest covers pretty much the same ground as the one the first instalment does. Boisterous fist-pumping hymns like “You Won’t Ger Me” spreahead the parade, the rowdier setting stirred on “Inner Stranger” more than welcome, coming very close to the power/speed metal parameters established by their peers Primal Fear and Iron Saviour. Expect half of Heaven to fall from the sky on the short lyrical instrumental “Half of Heaven”, and to also stick around on the heavy dramatic ballad “Nowhereland”, before “I’m Addicted to You” drives it away with another portion of dynamic fast-paced rhythms. The absolute highlight here, 5.5-min of healthy steady speed metal, this anthem has no rival later, and not only because the guys choose to serve more calm soothing balladic cuts (“Vagabond Road”, “Should I Cry”), leaving the second half on the mellower, sing-along side, the latter mostly carried by the excellent attached vocals of Froehlich.

A bit lop-sided, with the soulful introspective portion of the band repertoire showing up prominently towards the end, this opus still has its place on the German heavy metal pedestal, especially having in mind the time of release, when every second 80’s practitioner was shying away from their roots, with the new recruits not even considering the 80’s heritage as a guiding light. Well, Germany had a few strongholds in this regard, so things weren’t that bad, but classic heavy metal was pretty much a disappearing species over there as well, and kudos should be paid any act who had chosen to keep that flame alive. The thing is that the guys hit another crossroad shortly after this album’s release, and the follow-up “Gasolined” was a trite groovy rock affair, not much metal on it, which effectively sank their ship as it failed to generate any lasting interest. It was only the guitar player Stefan Ellerhorst that was later seen in another outfit, first with the similarly-styled heavy metal formation Love.Might.Kill, now defunct, and currently with the power metal cohort The Unity. Another borderline case? Nah, those can only be seen standing at a crossroad, with the traffic lights only blinking in the old school values’ direction.