Sunday, February 25, 2018

Album Review: Fight The Fight - Fight The Fight

When you're in the business of talking about music, you wind up reading a lot of press releases. At a certain point, the fawning language begins to blend together, and you wind up searching for keywords to indicate if something it going to be up your alley or not. But every so often, you see a combination of phrases that doesn't appear to make any sense, which sends you to a record to see just what in the heck they were talking about. That's where Fight The Fight comes in. Their debut record was described as a combination of immediately memorable hooks and.... black metal? Do we have another case of Kvelertak on our hands, where hipsters gravitate towards a lousy band simply because they think it's interesting to add intolerable elements to otherwise good music?

We find out quickly, as the band's (lack of) creativity is on full display, opening the album with a track that shares a name with the band and the album. Their inability to come up with a second phrase they like is a bad sign. The song starts out of nowhere with a screeched vocal and tremolo picked riff that is surely black metal, and lo and behold the chorus pulls in sounds that are more like The Smashing Pumpkins. I don't know if I would say the song holds together in a way that makes sense, but the hook is certainly solid.

I've thought about the rise of black metal among hipsters, and have come to the conclusion it's a Luddite response where people are actively gravitating towards a display of non-talent, because there's irony in saying being bad at something is more enjoyable than being good at it.

I have that same feeling during portions of this record. I'm not going to take anything away from what Fight The Fight does well. They do write strong, solid hooks for their songs, and they are able to fuse various strains of rock and metal in their instrumentals to interesting effect. There's a lot to those aspects to enjoy in this record, but they are presented in a way that is nearly impossible to embrace.

The band's black metal tendencies ruin this record. When the band is playing something melodically interesting, and the vocals are shrieking for no good reason, I'm left at a loss. The only thing I can imagine as an explanation is they are trying to throw in a little bit of something for every kind of metal fan, but that's a fool's errand. There are so many kinds of metal today, which share few fans between the extremes, that all they are doing is pissing off everyone who doesn't want to hear the other side of the equation. And unlike bands like Opeth, who made it clear what they were trying to do with their music, Fight The Fight has no blueprint to understand how they get from Point A to Point B.

I suppose the good thing about the record is that it clocks in only around half an hour, so the frustration doesn't last as long as it could. I struggle with whether albums like this are truly full-lengths, but I'll save that conversation for a better record.

Fight The Fight may have an interesting idea in their heads, and certainly some talent, they don't know how to translate that into songs someone like me would want to listen to yet. This album is a bit of a mess.

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