Quebec musician Frank Dubé originally formed Hell Fire’s Club 666 back in 2005, which played a mix of old-school U.S. death metal and 90s style groove/thrash. After releasing a demo in 2008 the project went dormant for a while, ultimately reemerging in 2011 under the name The Franks Daredevils. Dubé has taken his time in getting material together for his debut with this re-named project, and the resulting effort ‘Requiem Aeternam Dona Eis Domine’ came out as an independent release in April. Polish label Via Nocturna has picked it up for expanded distribution on CD in a slightly altered format, with a different track list and the title ‘Dead Inside’. With the release date set for tomorrow, August 26th, we’re pleased to present you with a full stream of the album.
There is an interesting mixture of styles throughout the course of ‘Dead Inside’ that spans everything from old-school death metal to slightly more modern sounding thrash and groove metal. It may be a bit heavy on the groove side of the spectrum for the death metal purist, but those of you who like a lot of the death metal/thrash hybrids that popped up during the 90s will find a lot to like about The Franks Daredevils. While some other musicians contributed some additional instrumentation on a few of the songs, the core of the writing and performances were done entirely by Dubé and he showcases a knack for this type of tightly played, heavy hitting metal. There are seven songs in total, with two bonus tracks bringing the total run time up to just over half an hour. I appreciate the attempt to be concise, as it allows the instrumentals to deliver some heavy, headbang worthy grooves without dragging them out to the point of repetition. Sometimes The Franks Daredevils might head into pure death metal territory, while other moments might have more of a thrash, groove metal, or even rock vibe to it, and there is always something slightly different to make each song distinguishable from the last.
Admittedly the vocals might be where this album loses some people, as they’re a little different from what one might initially expect from a death/thrash band. But it depends on your tastes, and if you’re a fan of the gruffer screams and growls that were commonplace in early groove metal and death metal that leans heavily into other genres you’ll find a lot to like here. Dubé pulls from a fairly wide range of singing and screaming styles, letting the abrasive pitches give way to some cleaner ranges that almost have a gothic undertone to them. It felt a bit off the wall and unexpected the first time I heard it, and while it may prove to be an acquired taste the amount of variation to the vocal performance ultimately drew me back and gave The Franks Daredevils a sound of its own.
‘Dead Inside’ is an intriguing debut that takes familiar elements of the death/thrash template and heads in a bunch of different directions with them. It reaches for that type of mainstream meets underground appeal, with chunky death metal grooves and bottom heavy riffing giving way to some more mainstream groove/thrash tendencies, but it’s pulled off in a way that won’t alienate either audience. If this material catches your attention, grab the CD from Via Nocturna tomorrow and keep this project on your radar, as it seems likely Dubé will expand his ideas outward in the years to come.