Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

From Beauty to Turpitude, Pt. 3 - 70%

Xyrth, June 30th, 2016

How much can a band change in a year? That's a question best asked to a true genre chameleon such as Faithful Breath. Leaving completely behind the last vestiges of prog rock in the matter of just one year, as if it had never existed, Faithful Breath were ready to mutate into a pure hard rock outfit, complete with a pseudo-Viking image (take that, Manowar!) and a short, punchy title for their third album, Rock Lions, itself composed by eight, short, punchy tracks. Well, not that punchy, to be honest, despite no lack in trying. This is the first album by the Germans in which Heinz Mikus took up the mic all by himself besides his usual six-stringer business, and the first one of two attempts for the band as a power trio. These guys truly tried it all, that's for sure. And while the results here are nothing particularly noteworthy, it can safely said this was their more cohesive album so far.

“Hurricane” starts the album, and it's the shortest composition, already showing Faithful Breath's new approach. Mikus lets loose a Brian Johnson-esque shriek and then the rocking music starts. Nothing too impressive, but enjoyable nonetheless. Then they go for a much softer approach in a Lynyrd Skynyrd type of ballad with the five-minute “Better Times”. Again, enjoyable but not too exciting, memorable nor emotive, which is more or less the standard for the whole record, “Rock City” also falling into that category, while ironically being the bluesier composition here. So, I'll skip directly to the two best, catchiest tunes here, which are “Rollin' Into Our Lives” and “Down, Down”. The first one starts with swift, classy yet simple percussion, Owe Otto recalling first Rush drummer, John Rutsey, in their self-titled debut; simple but adding a thrilling dose of rhythmic flourishes and fills here and there. But it is the chorus in both tunes that make them pretty recognizable, and that's what you should aim for in this type of bare-bones hard rock, unless you're a guitar god like Blackmore or Page, which is obviously not the case for Mikus. Speaking about the solos, they are pretty simple stuff for the most part, though the one in “Rollin' Into Our Lives” is quite cool, and my favorite. “Down, Down” is also somewhat Rush-esque, with a slash of Thin Lizzy, and it's more upbeat than the song that precedes it, though it lacks a distinctive solo.

The production feels alright for the time period, perhaps also the best production values they have had so far in their career. Mikus voice is fitting for the style, just doesn't gives much in terms of presence. The guitar has power and cutting edge, though it doesn't offers much aside from its mere sound. The bass is audible, but Horst Stabenow's playing is just nothing too stimulating, just like Otto's drumming. And that's about it folks, there's just not much else to say about this album that I find particularly noteworthy. Nothing too offensive here, but nothing too enticing either. Middle ground for a hard rock album, average at best, a bit underwhelming if you are a bit strict or particularly fond of hard rock. The über-German looking logo of the band, like an aesthetic mixture between a low budget fantasy flick from the 80s and a heavy, dark beer brand, promises more than what the LP offers, and the ridiculous cover art at least provides a good, quick laugh. It seems the campy Viking image wouldn't be going anywhere else, at least for a time. Solid choice of an album to play… if your other options are Limp Bizkit or St. Anger. Better than elevator music… save for “Love in an Elevator”, that is. And if by any chance you don't dig classic hard rock, definitely avoid.