Paris is generally associated with all things cultural. The spiritual home of the beatniks, the place people all associate with art, beauty and extravagance etc. So when experimental outfit Frank Sabbath shown up, promising a musical merger of two of my favourite artists, the legendary Black Sabbath who need no elaboration and of course, Frank Zappa, a man who was innovative and pushed the boundaries of music and art to their extremes throughout his long career from the 60’s to his death in the 90’s, my curiosity was naturally piqued. So, as the Nanook taught us, don’t eat the yellow snow and unless you want to see if faeries wear boots.
To describe this musical experiment in its simplest form, it is a blend of haunting proto-metal with jazz and what feels like improvised moments. The dirty pseudo-doom distortion and hazy vocals compliment the more extravagant and explorative passages in the instrumental tracks and sections rather well, but at the same time, it just doesn’t seem right, be it when you are clear headed or of a ‘clouded’ mind per se.
Some of the lead work is astounding, following accepted musical constraints one moment and then throwing them out the window in another, more often than not in the same track, but the blend of three songs with vocals being over ten minutes and the other three being average length instrumentals doesn’t quite seem to help it flow well. Granted, that is the purpose and mission statement of jazz and indeed Frank Zappa, do it your own way and those who will appreciate it will surely do so, but this isn’t the psychedelic sixties, nor is it the seventies where this was often common place.
Whilst the slight retro feel in parts works great and sounds great, it just lacks that hook to draw you in and keep your attention to it. Instead of engaging you, it just leaves you to listen and not really connect to the music. Sure, tracks like “Flying Peacock” really come off as fantastically composed and well delivered pieces of music, but as mentioned, it just doesn’t seem to engage the listener.
On the whole, this isn’t Frank, Nor is it Sabbath. It’s just meh.