DUMB AS HELL, BUT UNDERRATED, EVEN BY THE BAND.
I am absolutely puzzled by how wholly encompassing the negative feedback for this album was. Labelled by some as "Fight for the Nightmare", "Fight For The Rock" took blows from any publication that would rail it with outrage. Even SAVATAGE, themselves hate this album, and refused to play it live. Stories tell of the underhanded protrusions and artistic violations that were enacted by the label.
There are also horror stories of how the band had little to do with the album's sound or direction. Firstly, the title track is an excellent beginning, and captures the previous glory of "Dungeons" and "Power". To be brusque, I think the song kicks ass. However, the lyrics are dumb as dirt. "Fight for the rock, you know that you better'"? That's some pretty banal stuff, but I seriously doubt anyone's outlook on life was changed by the lyrics to a song. So, when considering this, I rarely detract points (oh what meaningless items, these pitiful points!) for poor lyrical content, but if you are repulsed by boorish and dimwitted lyrics, then you'll probably be put off by this album.
The next two songs are awkward and make for questionable additions. They are covers. No, not covers of another band. It's SAVATAGE covering SAVATAGE. "Out On The Streets" and "Crying For Love" are covers of select tracks from their previous albums "Sirens" and "Dungeons Are Calling", respectively. They are basically more radio friendly versions of the originals, but damn, they're still good songs! The critics reamed this album and tore it down, but at least it sounds fine. The production is similar to "Power", and never interrupts the music in any fashion
"Day After Day" is the first true deviation from their roots. It is an uplifting, chorus based song that was clearly geared for radio airplay. It is not horrible, as I quite like the melody, but there is a quality degradation. "Edge Of Midnight" comes off sounding like a solid "Dungeons" outtake. It has that classic menace and ferocity that marked their previous albums. Following this is another song, "Hyde", that sounds like it was ripped directly from their debut. Where those critics only listening to part of the album? I ask because the album isn't nearly as offensive and poor as I've read. No, it's not even close to being a masterpiece, but the way Jon and Criss unquestionably OWN some of these tracks is simply impossible to ignore.
"Lady In Disguise" is theatrical, and I like it. I am honestly never bored with the album. The melodies are interesting, and they spread their wings. They are not even close to being as violent and aggressive as before, but the 'TAGE were a different beast at this time. The one thing they didn't lose a single fucking inch of was passion. Their conviction never sullied itself in the mire their label executives made them swill.
Even "She's Only Rock N' Roll", which I'll admit is stupid, rocks like hell. These are good songs, they were just conceived and implimented poorly. If you ignore the obvious commercial stabs, this album seems more convincing and furious than "Power Of The Night". "Wishing Well" is the main weakness in the album's lineup. It still isn't awful. They are catchy. The guys never forget to be catchy.
The album ends with "Red Light Paradise", which has the distinct feel of a murky remake of the title track crossed with a classic "Sirens" song. It's a nice ending, and doesn't ever offend my ears. Still, they could have produced this song more thoughtfully. No harm done to the song, though, I think.
Widely panned when it came out, "Fight For The Rock" holds many surprises for the adventurous listener. I always saw it as a logical continuation of their previous album's direction. There is certainly a quality loss, but you get a confident collection of passionately performed songs, marred by puzzling covers and remakes, a slight attempt to become popular on the radios, and disparate/uneven recording qualities. Don't let the storm of critics keep you from this underrated, dirty gem. Those pretentious fops never really knew how to "Fight For The Rock".
Best songs: "Edge Of Midnight", "Hyde"
Worst Songs: "Wishing Well", "Day After Day"
Guest review by Dustin Tate
(Online May 12, 2010)