The Fright – ‘Canto V’ (Steamhammer) Print
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Friday, 13 October 2017 04:40

The Fright Canto VNot only is it Friday the 13th, but it’s fast approaching Halloween – our favourite time of year here at URHQ – and what better time for a bit of a fright? Correction, what better time for The Fright?


The album is a bit of a giveaway as to where these German goths find themselves at this point in their career: not only is it their fifth studio album, but it is also a reference to the first real circle of hell, and thus a reflection of the politically circumstances against which the band found themselves writing and recording this latest opus, and which spilled over into the songs themselves, as singer Lon Fright elaborates:


“Following recent events like the refugee crisis, renewed nationalism, the closing of borders [and] demands for increased surveillance and security, these new lyrics are the most socially and politically critical I’ve ever written. But, I also see them as a countertrend to all the meaningless stuff around, and not just in the mainstream… If we don’t open our eyes soon, and shake off our fear of all things new, we’re in danger of sinking deeper and deeper into this maelstrom.”


The Fright’s music is born very much in the sound of the artists who pioneered the modern goth sound – the likes of Bauhaus, The Cult, Mission and Sisters Of Mercy. They are unashamed in their replication of that sound, right from the familiarity of album opener, and lead single, ‘Bonfire Night’, which kicks in a Nephilim-esque intro before delving straight into Eldritch/Hussey territory – but, then, they immediately twist things on their head, because welded in and around its dark groovy undercurrent there is a sleaziness that will have the likes of Black Veil Brides, Fearless Vampire Killers et al sitting up, taking notes and declaring “fuck, that’s how it’s supposed to be done”. It also showcases Fright’s own incredible range, which is one of the definite highlights of, well, Fright’s sound.



‘No One’ ploughs straight into Billy Idol’s immediate post-Gen X sound, with its big, punchy riff and Fright’s snarling vocal, before again adding its own twist in the harmonized middle section. ‘Wander Alone’ is altogether darker, built around an infuriatingly catchy hook, but with Fright hinting at a vocal darkness of the sort that Glenn Danzig has been unable to reproduce for quite some time now, while at the same time producing a commercial-as-fuck sound that, in a world where the quality of music actually mattered would be bothering the top end of the charts and radio airplay lists, never mind playing with their nether regions in the process.


‘Love Is Gone’ once again mixes dark Gothicism with a Sunset Strip sleaziness and a groove catchier than man ‘flu, while ‘Fade Away’ is beautiful in its use of multiple layers of vocals and guitars, producing a dark atmospheric that is ironically combined with a lightness of touch which works too well. ‘Oblivion’ is ripped straight from the Sisters Of Mercy songbook, albeit with a lighter touch, especially in the twangy guitar sound that pervades the first 45 seconds or so before Fright growls the opening lyric: but, that chorus is pure Eldritch, through and through. Nevertheless, while the band plunge ever deeper into the darker side of their sound, this is just a mere appetizer for the album’s undoubted standout track…


‘Leave’ is simply huge in every respect, from the crashing guitar intro which explodes so unexpectedly to the one-two hammer blows of Fright’s furiously spiteful lyric through into the ridiculously catchy chorus to the harshness of the solo, all of which leave you punch drunk but begging for more. So, after that there is only one way for the band to go, and that is down the back alley marked “mellow”, as they brood and broil their way through ‘Drowned In Red’, another slice of dark-meets-light congeniality which characterizes the overall feel of this album, and ‘Century Without A Name’, which features another magnificent vocal performance from Fright.


Strangely, the band round off the album with a cover, of ‘In Sicherheit’ by the Stuttgart punk band Fliehende Stürme (whose singer, Andreas Löhr, guests): the only German language song The Fright have ever recorded, it’s an homage to the frontman’s youth, growing up in a musical environment dominated by the punk scene and in which metal initially struggled to survive, and provides a strangely appropriate way to round off this surprisingly good album. Actually, it had to be said that ‘Canto V’ is a grower, as I was a bit “meh” about it on first listen but something made me play it again and explore it further. I’m glad I did I now have a few new tunes with which to annoy my rave-loving neighbours this coming All Hallow’s Eve!


‘Canto V’ is released today (Friday 13 October). You can get your copy HERE.


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