Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

stepfather fred

CD review STEPFATHER FRED "Enhancer"

Veröffentlicht am 13. April 2018 von Markus W. in Stepfather Fred, News, Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, Rock, El Puerto Records, CD Review, Hardrock

CD review STEPFATHER FRED "Enhancer"

(8/10) The first things that stand out from a lot of other bands is the name. I can’t tell you who inspired Stepfather Fred for choosing such a name, but it’s for sure an unusual one in rock and metal.

The first time I was confronted with the name was during Brainstrom’s release show for the “Scary Creatures” album. The ‘stepfathers’ have been the opening act that night and the first impression wasn’t a too band one. Even their music is slightly different from the powerful metal supplied by Brainstorm but the guys could score and also deserved the warm applause.

The debut was released some months later and another two years further down the road it’s time for the next strike. Stepfather Fred is into alternative rock and metal. That’s what they offered on the debut and that’s what is captured on “Enhancer” too.

The first recognizable thing with the new album is the fact that it sounds much tighter compared with the debut. One thing leading to a dense sound if, next to the production, the extensive touring. The German quartet ignites a musical fireworks that’s actually pretty impressive. ‘Youth gone wild’ could have been the credo for the four-piece band during their time in the studio.

Things start wild and furious with “I Have to End” which is definitely a starting point more than an end. Rock vibes are in focus with “Alone in the Ground” and it’s the calmer tone that show the entire width of Stepfather Fred’s sound. Mentioning ‘calmer tones’ doesn’t mean that the latter is ballad. Not at all. It’s more a moderate paced song with a calmer verse and an energetic chorus, a combination that makes the song to one of the best ones on the entire album.

Another song I would like to mention in this context “Cut My Strings” that reminds with its bassline very much of Nirvana. Not that it’s a copycat. The song is really different from Kurt Cobain and mates, but the four string is for sure inspired by songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

What benefits the mentioned three songs but also the other ten tracks on the album are mainly two things. It’s the coarse voice of frontman Sebastian Schuster that gives each tune on the album a harsh expression, helping a lot in making this album to a rocking one. These great vocals in combination with some six-string firepower, provided by Simon Schweiger, gives Stepfather Fred the dynamic needed.

“Enhancer” is the second album of a band that progressed a lot over the last years. This album is an entertaining alternative metal release, build on pure passion and enthusiasm.





  1. I Have To End
  2. Alone In the Ground
  3. This Is Me
  4. Prime Time
  5. Die Hard - Live Fast
  6. Full Metal Jacket
  7. Cut My Strings
  8. Speed of Life
  9. One Second Alive
  10. Take Control
  11. Halo
  12. Focus
  13. My Way to You          


Label: El Puerto Records

Genre: Alternative Metal

Release Date EU: April 27th, 2018


CD review STEPFATHER FRED "Dummies, Dolls and Masters"

Veröffentlicht am 2. Juni 2016 von Markus W. in Stepfather Fred, News, CD Review, Hardrock, Alternative Rock, Modern Rock, Sleaze Rock

(7/10) Normally I first discover a band on CD, followed by a live show. In this case things have been slightly different. The first time I heard about Stepfather Fred was when I joined the Brainstorm album release show earlier this year. Stepfather Fred had the challenge to be the first band that night and the did a good job. However, they didn't really convince me entirely and I can't say that there was a real click with their music.

Then came the moment, when the new album, number three, of the four-piece band found its way into my mailbox.

And surprise, surprise - this longplayer is far better than what I have expected. The guys talk about "Heavy Alternative Rock" when they have to describe their music and I think this hits the nail right on the head. A lot of their songs are pretty well done hardrock with has a pretty modern touch. The new album "Dummies, Dolls and Masters" sounds fresh and forceful and the guys keep on pushing with each of the twelve songs.

"Bitchbanger" is the opener, a song that comes with nasty vibe and a mighty grooving riff. With "Libertine" the guys have sassy hymn placed on the tracklist while "Relief" reminds more of sleazy hardrock.

Not to forget the first single taken from this album - "Beat It". This track is spot-on, coming with a relaxed verse that ends in a catchy but heavy chorus. Stepfather Fred did a good choice by chosing this tune as being a single release.

"Dummies, Dolls and Masters" is a big surprise since it exceeded expectations. Check it out.





  1. Bitchbanger
  2. Freedom Call
  3. Libertine
  4. Have a Good Time
  5. Beat it
  6. Worlds Collide
  7. Lonely Toy
  8. Relife
  9. Imprudent
  10. Shuffle Man
  11. Isolation
  12. Fellow Traveller


Label: El Puerto Records

Genre: Modern Hardrock

Release Date EU: May 20th, 2016

CD review STEPFATHER FRED "Dummies, Dolls and Masters"

Live review BRAINSTORM/UNDERTOW/STEPFATHER FRED, ..., Giengen, 16.01.2016

Veröffentlicht am 19. Januar 2016 von Markus W. in Brainstorm, Undertow, Stepfather Fred, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, News, Live Review, Thrash Metal, Doom Metal

The whole German winter was green so far and temperatures have been on springly 14 degrees. This changed the day Swabian power metal command Brainstorm invited to the release show of their newest album "Scary Creatures". The whole area was covered by freshly fallen white snow which didn't make it easy for metal fans to get the venue.

However, the ones that took the effort to get to the show have been rewarded by five hours of pure German metal for a very fair price.

But let's start from the beginning. The first band that had to enter the stage was Stepfather Fred. I haven't heard of these guys before. The only thing I knew was that they supported already bands like Emil Bulls and Die Happy. The dudes did a good job even though the venue wasn't that much filled at that time. Stepfather Fred's songs can be described as solid alternative metal that lives by the enegry the guys spread. Halfway the show the crowd also understood why everybody got a lighter by entering the venue. Singer Basti and guitarist Simon left the stage, went into the crowd and played an acoustic tune, surrounded by some fans with lighters on. It's a nice idea that probably even work better in a small club.

Stepfather Fred did an good job and they warmed up the crowd, something that was need on this winter night.

After a short break it was time for Undertow. The German doom thrashers got 60 minutes of playtime which the used vey well.

The whole show was one big metal feast hosted by a band that played tight and spot-on. Guitarist and singer Joschi has been the tower of strength behind the mic, surrounded by his six-string companion Markus Brand and bassist Undertom, who celebrated his birthday the same day. What a cool combination. Not to forget in this context drummer Oli Riegler with his heavy punch behind the drum kit, assuring a strong rhythm foundation and the right power for Undertow.

They four-piece put together a setlist that was a mix of loud and more silent. Not only since this show, it feels like the band got a wider range of sounds by adding a second guitarist a while ago. The latest release "In Deepest Silence" has shown this already, but also the older stuff became more thrilling during the live shows. Tunes like "Smoke Garden" and the mighty "Crawler" made the speakers to an impervious wall of sound.

I like Undertow the most when they reduce the speed and hammer some brutal and slow riffs in the crowd; riffs that feel like a slap into your face. One of those moments was towards the end when the guys peformed with "In Deepest Silence" the title track from their latest record.

Undertow really warmed up the crowd during this 'homematch'. Good band, good music, Swabia rocks.

Live review BRAINSTORM/UNDERTOW/STEPFATHER FRED, ..., Giengen, 16.01.2016

Then it was time for Brainstorm to present their new songs live on stage. That's why most of the fans came for.

To my surprise, Brainstorm has chosen "Nelly the Elephant" from the Toy Dolls as an intro. I'm not sure if this was only for this event or if it will become a fix part of the shows supposed to come. Anyhow, a cool song with a certain party vibe ... something that continued for the coming two hours.

Compared to the "Firesoul" release shows, where the band performed the entire album, the five-piece played only four track from the new longplayer "Scary Creatures". The rest was a look back in time, a kind of Brainstorm 'Best of...'.

Next to the new tracks highlights in the setlist featured metal anthems such as "Shiva's Tears" and one of the best Brainstorm songs, "Highs without lows". But also rarely performed songs like "Blind suffering" (the band wasn't sure if, and if yes how often, they have ever played it live) have been a pleasure for each metal maniac. Having those band classics next to the new stuff also showed that Brainstorm stays true to themselves. The band developed their sound futher but also sticks to their identity and trademarks. New and old goes together very well, something this release show made very clear.

Brainstorm nailed down a 100 minutes long metal party that was expected from the fans, and the guys delivered. Torsten Ihlenfeld and his gang had obviously a lot of fun and enjoyed each minute of the show. There was action all over the stage combined with wild headbanging wherever you looked. This is real, this is metal.

The Swabian powerhouse finished their show with another real hymn. "All Those Words" from "Liquid Monster", a song with a big chorus, demanded the last energy of fans and band, a pearl that completed a great metal night in Giengen.

The Ostalb might not be the Bay Area. Anyhow, this region has bands that are internationally and nationally established. Brainstorm and Undertow are bands from this district and they are in the business since many years. Both bands proved that metal and Ostalb belongs together. 

After five hours of metal the last note was played, the fans have been happy and the winter was still there. Back into the snow, heated up by German metal. Horns up.

Live review BRAINSTORM/UNDERTOW/STEPFATHER FRED, ..., Giengen, 16.01.2016
Live review BRAINSTORM/UNDERTOW/STEPFATHER FRED, ..., Giengen, 16.01.2016
Live review BRAINSTORM/UNDERTOW/STEPFATHER FRED, ..., Giengen, 16.01.2016

Setlist Brainstorm

  1. The World To See
  2. Firesoul
  3. Fire Walk With Me
  4. How Much Can You Take
  5. Falling Spiral Down
  6. World`s Are Coming Through
  7. We Are...
  8. Shivas Tears
  9. End In Sorrow
  10. Scary Creatures
  11. Highs Without Lows
  12. Blind Suffering
  13. Surrounding Walls
  14. Blink Of An Eye
  15. Hollow Hideaway
  16. Inside A Monster
  17. How Do You Feel
  18. Shiver (Encore)
  19. All Those Words (Encore)



Setlist Undertow:

  1. Barefaced
  2. Stomping Out Ignorance
  3. Canvas Ghosts
  4. BoxSapedHeart
  5. Smoke Garden
  6. Threedouble Chime
  7. These Boots are Made for Stalking
  8. Beyond Dreaming
  9. File Under Unexpected
  10. Everember
  11. In Deepest Silence
  12. Crawler


Location: Walter-Schmid Halle, Giengen a.d. Brenz, Germany

Date: January 16th, 2016