This album showcases Henning Pauly's tremendous musical versatility. Not that
it was needed - we've already seen a tremendous range of styles in his recent
Pauly is a relative newcomer to the progressive, prog-metal and heavy metal
world, but in that time his output has been both prolific and impressive. He
dons a different hat for each musical style - sometimes publishing under his own
name and at other times as Frameshift or as Chain. And for Credit Credit
Where Credit Is Due it's he's clearly wearing the hat that says 'German
Metalhead'. Although summa cum laude Berklee graduate Pauly will probably never
manage to avoid adding at least some intelligent prog tendencies to his
songs, this one is almost all middle-of-the-road hard metal with powerful riffs
from hugely distorted rhythm guitars.
Probably the best component of this record is the vocals. Pauly recruited
German compatriot Juan Roos to sing on this record, and Roos's performance is
flawless. His delivery is in the strong mid-range of an Andy Franck, but he adds
the ability to wail with the best of them.
We won't delve into the background to the album's odd title, the maple leaf
and the stapler on the cover, or the lyrics in songs like "Cure The Breach"; other than to say that they address a recent unfortunate
legal clash between two artists. If Pauly chooses to describe them, we'll leave
it to him to do so. And by the way, contrary to appearances, the lyrics on
"Copyright Conspiracy" only have oblique references to that conflict. The real
story behind those lyrics is more obscure and quirky than you can imagine - and
again, explanations are best left to Henning.
Credit Credit Where Credit Is Due has song titles like "Radio Sucks"
and "Your Mother Is A Trucker", and tracks 3 6 and 7 are named "Three","Six" and
"Seven" respectively. There are lyrics like Eat the bun - it is yum, and
I like toast - whithout Jam / I don't like green eggs and ham. These are
criminally simplistic and are the polar opposite to Pauly's Unweaving The
Rainbow published as a Frameshift project - which had lyrics that would
confuse the average metalhead and challenge the intellectuals.
The power ballad that has become obligatory on modern metal albums is
noticeably absent here, although "Three" comes close. It is elegant in parts,
and features a pleasing acoustic guitar played over crunchy power chords, with
Roos's impressive vocal range used to wonderful effect. As the song title "Bonusdreck"
suggests, avoid that bonus track. It starts with 90 seconds of silence to
separate it from the main body of the record, then launches a 14-minute skit in
German, that has Pauly, Roos and others discussing metal music. This spoof may
be humorous to German speakers, but will be lost on everyone else - and to all
intents and purposes, there's no real music involved. On the other hand, "Halo"
is an 11-minute mini-epic that stands out as the most progressive piece on the
album. It has some of the album's richest textures - with a long instrumental
introduction of synthesized orchestras and choirs, a pleasing guitar solo and
native American chanting. The track is punctuated with soft voiceover inserts
and manic laughing, and as it goes through numerous tempo shifts the mood
remains introspective and emotional, and the slow guitar solos are particularly
pleasing. The idea is nice - but the esoteric lyrics and lines like I'm gonna
kick you in the face threaten to rob credibility.
As straightforward metal, this album is very strong. Pauly and longtime
collaborator Matt Cash are clearly very talented musicians, and despite the
programmed percussion the instrumentation and production are the products of
Pauly's perfectionist approach to his music. Credit Credit Where Credit Is
Due is recommended.if you're comfortable with relatively uncomplicated metal
with plenty of basic appeal.
01. Your Mother Is A Trucker
02. Cure the Breach
05. I Don't Wanna Be A Rockstar
08. Radio Sucks
12.I Like My Video Games