frank's enemy - atrocities

Not Silent

It’s been long enough since I’ve written anything about a Frank’s Enemy release that it bears repeating the obligatory origin story: Frank’s Enemy was the band/group/project of the former guitarist and vocalist of The Lead, Julio Rey. It was started, more or less, back in 1991, with the name derived as a response to a rather snide comment made by one Frank Zappa made about Christians. And that brings us to their first demo release, Atrocities.

Released in 1992 as a cassette-only demo, the music is…well, I’ll just say it: It’s extremely raw. Which, considering the utter DIY method of production (as a long-time mix tape maker back in the day, those Maxwell blank tapes bring back so many fond memories). I was expecting a low-fi experience, and for the most part I got it.

Production quality aside, the actual music contained therein is actually quite varied, and for the most part executed pretty well. While there are cuts that are early indications of the sludgy grindcore Frank’s Enemy would become known for in future releases, there’s also some crossover hardcore and punk stylings from his past on here, as well as some bits of completely different noodling around. For instance, “Enemies In The Faith” has an 80s New Wave guitar riff and…I don’t think it was to be taken too seriously, really. “Out To Pastor” is a rockabilly, almost Ramones-is thing. The last two cuts–“Coda” and “Epitaph”–are acoustic and terrible, you can pass up on those.

Probably the weakest part of this demo would be the vocals. They’re mostly clean, going for a somewhat textured style, I can see where they were going for, but it just doesn’t hit it. The grindcore vocals are actually used for emphasis, not the majority of the style.

Overall, Atrocities wasn’t as painful a listen as I expected it to be. It is, of course, a demo, and it reflects the rawness therein; however, there are some bright spots, the proverbial diamonds in the rough, if you will, with the guitar work and structures. And it did sound like the guys had some fun doing this.