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Pauly, Henning: Credit Where Credit Is Due

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 output.

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.


Track Listing:
01. Your Mother Is A Trucker
02. Cure the Breach
03. Three
04. Scheisslautundhartwiedreck
05. I Don't Wanna Be A Rockstar
06. Six
07. Seven
08. Radio Sucks
09. Halo
10.Copyright Conspiracy
11.German Metalhead
12.I Like My Video Games

Added: November 30th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Henning Pauly's Web Site
Hits: 2488
Language: english

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