Sunday, September 28, 2008

They Fought The Rock And The Rock ... Won ...?

Savatage's third full-length album is a step backwards for the band. A kind of fumble at a critical point in their career. Upon reading the background story behind the recording of "Fight For The Rock" I can sum it all up with the phrase, a gong show.

"Fight For The Rock" is a solid rock album with the emphasis on rock, but frankly, it's not Savatage. Being comprised of music mostly written for other Atlantic label artists, the album comes across as a bit of a sellout or an attempt at commercial success when in fact it was youthful naivety that dang near destroyed them. I'm inclined to believe the liner notes history simply cause of the quality albums the band had recorded up to this point and afterwards.

This is an unfortunate black mark on Savatage's long career. All the same "Fight For The Rock" has some decent tracks with a little Savatage metal sprinkled in. This could have spelt disaster in the hands of another band, but Savatage are great song-writers and superb musicians.

Starting off with the title track, "Fight For The Rock" is a solid rock anthem with catchy melodies and a sing a long chorus. I find the intro to "The Edge Of Midnight" to be corny, the song itself is a strong effort with a mild Sav(y) edge to it. And "Hyde" (my favourite song here) could easily have fit on "Power Of The Night". Its haunting melodies are catchy and Jon's vocals shine over Chriss' dark riffs.

"Crying For Love" and "Lady In Disguise" are fairly standard tunes catchy but not Savatage. "She's Only Rock N Roll" is memorable with some nice guitar work and "Red Light Paradise" adds a darker Sav(y) touch to its cool riffs.

The band rerecorded "Out On The Streets" (from "Siren") which is a nice slower piece, though hardly distinguishable from the original and shows the band were struggling for filler. The 2 covers are done nicely, but don't have the Savatage feel to help them stand out. "Day After Day" is super catchy and sticky sweet with some beautiful melodies. A very nice song. "Wishing Well" is not bad, but nothing to write home about. The fact that this is the ONLY Savatage album to feature covers speaks volumes.

My copy came with 2 bonus live songs "The Dungeons Are Calling" and "City Beneath The Surface" which are of killer quality and damned fine songs.

"Fight For The Rock" is actually pretty good ... for a rock album. As Jon Oliva states, it is not a Savatage album. It's unfortunate the mess the band went through with this album, but it can be pretty much forgiven with the solid effort of "Hall Of The Mountain King" that came next.


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