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Savatage - "Fight For The Rock, 1986 (re-release)"
SPV 2002

"Fight For The Rock", Savatage's fourth studio album, is also nicknamed "Fight For The Nightmare" by band as they were really unhappy with the record. Why, you may ask. Well, it was a strange recording as it displays a bizarre story about what management did with one of the finest heavy metal acts of the eighties. They wanted from band to become more commercial, so they could put their songs on radio and that was normally not good for a metal act. It was also a debut album for Johnny Lee Middleton, who replaced then bassist Keith Collins. Management input to make the record sound more pop than metal, didn't help.

The title track opening song is a perfect example. It's a rockīnīroll song with a slightly heavier flavored edge. It was also one of the few songs that were performed live on Fight for the Rock tour. One of them was also "Hyde", by far the best recording on the album showcasing Oliva's trademark vocals. "Red Light Paradise" also made the cut on occasion. With its dark riff and disco beat it was written as anti-disco song, but it doesn't sound in that way. The song that represents the real Savatage style is also "The Edge of Midnight" with its great horror intro. So all in all there are not only poppy songs.

To this day, "Wishing Well" and "Day After Day" remained the only two cover songs Savatage has ever included on a studio album. "She's Only Rock And Roll" explains everything. Strip-club music, but it's got a great Crissīs riff! The album's three other songs were all reworked versions of previously recorded material. "Out On the Streets" (now with a more commercial beat) originally appeared on Sirens; "Lady in Disguise" was originally demoed in far different form; and "Crying for Love" was a revamped take on a demo recorded prior to Power of the Night. I also think that band felt a little uncomfortable, suddenly using so many keyboards on their songs as never before.

Two bonus tracks (live versions of "The Dungeons Are Calling" and "City beneath the Surface") are the best songs on this re-release. As a rock and roll record, it's a decent record. It's even a good record. But it is not what we are expecting from this band, so "Fight for the Rock" remains their weakest album to this day.

Author:   Peter

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