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Solid, Tough, and Working Class - 75%

DeathRiderDoom, January 11th, 2010

It’s been since I listened to Faithful Breath, but dammit, this band is overlooked, and forgotten – even by me, and listening to this classic piece of German metal now, I really don’t see why. If you are new to the band, Faithful Breath basically plays German metal in the vein of Accept. Stuff is anthemic and driving, with severely repeated choruses coming up quite often, speed metal smatterings and a vocalist who sounds like Udo. Faithful Breath started off as somewhat of a progressive 70’s rock act waaaaay back a decade or so before this album was released, and changed their style becoming more inline with the en vogue traditional European metal of the time, yet they never experienced anywhere near the success of their counterparts Accept, another working class sounding act, who had been in the game long, and altered their style as time dictated. Even the flash of semi-success that Faithful Breath had was fleeting, with most people seemingly have forgotten about them, while Accept continues to be a popular and talked about band, well into the 2000s.

This strong album, often regarded as their best, or at least their best known, offers little to explain why Faithful Breath didn’t or doesn’t have a tenth of the popularity as their very similar cousins, Accept. Even the ballad ‘A Million Hearts’ though nowhere near present in my (imaginary) list of favorite 80’s metal ballads, is halfway decent, but more importantly sounds like an Accept/U.D.O.ballad. ‘Don’t Feel Hate’ is a melodic, anthemic number, with some sentiment and a guitar tone which reminds me of 80’s Dokken. This one has a powerful, oft repeated, catchy chorus, and brings on the Accept vibe easily, but not as much as the incredibly crunchy and Acceptish ‘Gold ‘n Glory’. This Viking-themed track, is a fist pumping Germanic working class anthem, with shouted aggressive gang sloganry, and classic rock guitar leads, which might I add, are mixed incredibly crystal clear, along with the guitars on this album, and the follow-up Skol. Dokkenish guitar tone and riffage can be found on this track, as well as the most identifiably Acceptish sound of the whole album, arguably.

‘Play the Game’ is one of my favourite numbers; a track that features some emotive, well mixed guitar, an up-tempo, positive feel, and anthemic, chorus heavy delivery. The main riffs in this one slay hard, as do the bridge/intro riffs, that shatter spines. Heinz Mikus’ vocal delivery is always rough, and has that Teutonic sneer to it, but in this track, mixed with the simple chorus and positive, anthemic lyrics, I am reminded of British working class punk bands like Sham 69. We cannot escape Accept comparisons it seems, as the following track ‘Princess in Disguise’, not only sounds exactly like them or U.D.O, but has a title and overall sound very much similar to the track ‘Princess of the Dawn’. Coincidence?

Anyway, this is cool, rock ‘n’ rollish German metal with infinite similarity to Accept. This one, along with Skol and Hard Breath, are known as their best works, and sold a few units back in the day, but nothing next to the monumental Accept. This band has some great guitar, and overall songwriting skill, with a real working class, tough feel, like Saxon et al do (watch for tough riffs in the hard hitting ‘Don’t Drive me Mad’ and others). I’m not sure why these guys never made it big, given all their skill, and similarity to said band. Sure maybe they weren’t quite as consistently speedy, or they perhaps were lumped in with ‘the oldies’ of German metal/rock, (and hence deemed uncool or not fit for the new sound of the 80’s) even though Accept themselves were part of this era/sound. I don’t think either theory holds much water, and I thought I has cracked the reason why when I glanced again at the poorly executed album art on the front cover, but then I remembered some of early Accept’s atrocities, so that can’t be it either. For now, that’s my best theory however. Why don’t you listen to their albums, and tell me? Recommended.