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Savatage - Fight For The Rock CD (album) cover

FIGHT FOR THE ROCK

Savatage

Progressive Metal


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Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Savatage tries to go pop with this album. The album was quite poorly received by the fans, and did not break the band into the mainstream, as the record company hoped for.

The band themselves are ashamed of this album, and have not played anything off of it live since the 1980s.

The title track opens up the album, and starts off decent, but then falters right after that. "Out on the Streets" is a remake of the ballad at the end of the debut album, Sirens. I guess that because they were going commercial, they would re-record one of their more commercial songs from a previous album. The original is a great song, and the cover is a pale imitation. It's not cringe worthy, like much of this album is, but the original version of the song owns it.

"Crying for Love" is a rather crappy song. "Day After Day" is a cover of a song by some other band, and man, does it ever suck. I know it's a cover, but it's probably the worst song Savatage have ever recorded.

"The Edge of Midnight" actually had potential, and could have been a good song, easily, with a few tweaks. But it's got some rather lame parts, which bring it down. Some of the fills here are quite cool. One of the better tracks on the album.

"Hyde" is probably the heaviest song here, and is probably the best. Either way, it is easily the closest thing to a original Savatage song to be found on this album. "Lady in Disguise" -- here come the crap police, and they're here to invade our ears again. "She's Only Rock N Roll" has a somewhat catchy riff, but a horrendous chorus. "Wishing Well" is another dullfest. "Red Light Paradise" closes the album, and is another one of the heavier cuts, and probably the second best song here. Solid main riff.

So there you have it. Three or four good songs and the rest pretty poor and forgettable. I am lucky that this album failed commercially, because if it did, they likely would have had to continue in this direction instead of go back to the old style or progress towards symphonic metal. The result of this album's failure? One year later, they recorded their best old-school album. FFTR is not at all for the casual Savatage listener and only recommended to fans who want a complete collection.

album rating: 5.5/10 points = 54 % on MPV scale = 2/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#27447)
Posted Saturday, May 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars I hate this album,its when Savatage tried to began to sell out,the toughness has now gone replaced by tracks like ,Day after Day,Wishing Well ?,Yuk..There are only a few good tracks Hyde,and Red Light Paradise,(a song about prostitution),are brillant,the recording is brillant in quality .Not prog rock just a great act attempting to widen its audience,a hopless attempt,very weak stuff.
Report this review (#27450)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The worst Savatage's album! They went to England trying to record an AOR album, in an obvious attemp to increase their sells... But what a deception! This one was their less sold album with difference, and they lost many fans with it.

The song Fight For The Rock isn't bad, but others like Crying for Your Love or She's only Rock And Roll they aren't worthy of a trajectory like the Savatage's one. Nevertheless, there are a pair of interesant facts here... The song Hyde can be taken like an advance of the Hall of the Mountain King sound, and the presence of keyboards in the whole album it's an indicative of the great capacity of Jon Oliva to play them, although this is something that until Gutter Ballet we will not verify in all its splendor...

Fans only!

Report this review (#40646)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars "Fight for the Rock" is the first album to feature the young and talented Johnny Lee Middleton on bass, however this record is not Savatage's best by any means.

Jon Oliva, a gifted songwriter, himself wrote some music for his tentative solo album and also wrote some songs for another artists from Atlantic Records as well. However the management pushed the band to put those songs on a "Savatage album". The band (still with some lack of experience) agreed to record that material and were somewhat manipulated by the record company. Jon Oliva remember that period as a "learning experience".

Therefore, the songs on "Fight for the Rock" are softer and more AOR oriented, there are even two covers: "Day after Day" by Badfinger and "Wishing Well" by Free, tha later being recorded because it was the favourite song of the president of Atlantic Records! Go figure!

The best songs of this album are Hyde, The Edge of Midnight and the title track, the rest is all easily forgettable.

As I said this is not Savatage best, so sadly I'll give it only one star. In a heavy metal context my rating would be also low. The band's next release will be "the turn of the tide", though.

Report this review (#44899)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars i can't really understand ratings about this album which is absolutely ok for me. Yes it's hard FM, but really catchy songs and melodies vary alot which is rare in 80s heavy metal... It's really different from other albums of the band, that's a point but songs like "The Edge Of Midnight" and "Hyde" are just great! So even if it's nothing proggy, maybe nor true heavy metal, it deserves some spins and Helloween or 80s Queensryche fans will enjoy it a lot.
Report this review (#82171)
Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Savatage trying to go comercial after the powerfull Power of the night, in a way they succeded, but the fans were disappointed. Not a bad album but not so good as the late releases. You can still find the Savatage sound in 2 of the best tracks of the album: "The Edge Of Midnight" and "Hyde", are really good and fans of the '80 Queensryche and Crimson Glory will like this, as i do. The rest of the tracks are something between good and mediocre. Savatage will take wings with the next one witch is 100% better. I find Fight for the rock good, but if you want to check Savatage at his best try from the next one Hall of the mountain king till' Wake of Magellan with the strong recomandation to listen Streets from '91. So, here are 2 covers on this album Day after day by Badfinger ( i don't know the original, but here souns good) and Wishing Well by Free again good but aimless in this context. My rate is 3 stars, and if you listen from time to time is quite enjoyble.
Report this review (#127084)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars The nadir of the 'Tage, and why all great bands need at least one terrible album to light a fire under their ass...

This takes all the "bad" ideas from Power Of The Night and makes that the entire focus. I feel this album is a concept one. How to be the perfect glam metal band. No, that is a bit harsh, but they certainly lost a lot of their quality within this record.

Everything is cock rock enraged, and the accessibility turned up to extremes. The clean production and hard rock embellish is very stark from their dank and oh so tasty beginnings. There are a few redeeming points to the album. First off, a lot of the choruses are real catchy, secondly, they still sound pretty good.

The title track is probably the highlight. It rocks heavily, and the band is pretty tight. As good as the best material on Power of the Night. Still, those lyrics are awful. Then you've a strange move. They cover their own song in Out On The Streets, but they...butcher it? Yes, this is a shortened, touched up, and radio formatted version of the excellent Sirens track. They take out most of the emotion, Jon sounds like he doesn't even care, and neither should you. This is not amazing work.

Again, to be fair, the songs are certainly listenable. Everything is at least palpable to the ears. Crying for love has a somewhat diverse sound, in the keyboard effects, but it is just another rip off, er cover of Fighting For Your Love from Dungeons Are Calling, and they leave it fairly unchanged. Day After Day is lush pop rock. This sounds almost nothing like Savatage, and I am alright with that, as the song's central melody is strong enough to keep my interest, and the hooks are fine. This is not the case with the album, in general. The Edge OF Midnight has some of the worst keyboards I've ever heard, and it comes off sounding like a children's cartoon theme song about Halloween. When it begins rocking, it does a fine job, but this is not great material.

Hyde probably has the most real Savatage identity, and that makes it the strongest effort, here. The spitting venom is somewhat revisited, and it is a welcome respite to the lackluster affair of the record's other cuts. Lady In Disguise is more Savatage In Hairspray. Weak and simple. Catchy? Sure, but give me City Beneath The Surface!

She's Only Rock 'N Roll is the third "real" song here. By real, I mean approximately as good as any of the best work on their previous album, and fine listening. Wishing Well is another disappointment. The rhythm section is bland, and the song goes nowhere. The cover songs are banal, and make for very sad days for Savatage. More sex in the form of album closer Red Light Paradise. This is still one of the better songs. I can't help but feel that their vicious strength has been removed, though.

In closing, this is Savatage's worst album, by far. Nothing else they ever did comes close. There are a few nice melodies, but the production either goes from over polished and squeaky clean, to terribly muddy and poor. They never really cook, and nothing is as strong or complex, or even heavy as before. Weak, and it depresses me.

** Tear-filled stars. but even most fans reject this one.

Report this review (#194968)
Posted Thursday, December 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Fight For The Rock" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, Florida based heavy rock/metal act Savatage. The album was released through Atlantic Records in June 1986. There´s been one lineup change since "Power Of The Night (1985)" as bassist Keith Collins has been replaced by Johnny Lee Middleton. "Fight For The Rock" is often considered the odd one out in Savatage discography and the band have often gone on record saying that they weren´t too happy about it. It was not popular among the band´s fans or reviewers either. Lead vocalist/Keyboard player Jon Oliva had begun writing pop/rock material for other artists signed to Atlantic Records, but the label insisted that some of those songs should be recorded by Savatage and featured on "Fight For The Rock"...

...hence the shift in musical direction on this album compared to the first two. "Power Of The Night (1985)" also featured a couple of more mainstream oriented moments (most notably "Hard For Love"), but was still overall a relatively hard edged heavy/power metal album. The music on "Fight For The Rock" is a departure from the harder edged sound of the first two albums, and almost solely features mainstream oriented heavy rock/metal (with pretty generic man loves woman type lyrical themes). This is still unmistakably the sound of Savatage, but much softer and deliberately commercial in sound. The best example of that is probably "Day After Day".

The material on 10 track, 37:54 minutes long album is accessible, relatively well written, and well arranged for the style, and in some cases memorable beyond the album´s playing time. Few tracks stand out as something out of ordinay for the time and musical style, but tracks like "The Edge Of Midnight", "Hyde", "Red Light Paradise", and the title track, are small highlights on an otherwise pretty standard quality release.

One of the great assets of the album is the high level musicianship. Jon Oliva has lost none of his vocal power and rawness, although his performance here was his most varied up until then. The rhythm section is solid as a rock, and Criss Oliva also plays convincing. At times delivering blistering leads. The sound production is professional, clear, and well sounding, so it´s mostly in the songwriting department where things are different compared to the preceeding Savatage releases. I suspect that much of the criticism "Fight For The Rock" has gotten over the years, has more to do with the fact that it was released on a wrong premise (namely the label´s and not the band´s) than it has to do with the actual quality of the music. The shift in musical direction was too abrupt and for many fans probably felt a bit too calculated towards commercial success. Putting on more objective glasses "Fight For The Rock" is still a decent quality heavy rock/metal release and a 3 star (60%) rating isn´t all wrong.

Report this review (#253734)
Posted Monday, November 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Fight For The Rock is often considered to be the "thud" in Savatage's discography, and after hearing the album it's not hard to understand why. This is a really weak album. Even the band is upset with the complete artistic failure of this album. I am a pretty big fan of Savatage, and I consider them to be one of my favorite metal bands. Unfortunately, I have a tough time defending any of the material on Fight For The Rock, as most of it is pretty weak.

Fight For The Rock is Savatage's third album. Their first two albums are small classics in the early to mid 80's heavy metal scene, and I must imagine that this was a big disappointment when it was released in 1986. All of intensity and power in Savatage's music isn't present on this album, and instead we have a formulaic pop metal album. There are quite a few parts on Fight For The Rock that are just pure mainstream pop, and most of the album is without any of the metal sounds that Savatage is known for.

One of the biggest flaws of Fight For The Rock is the fact that a good amount of the album is either uninspired cover tracks, and even a rework of a previous song. I like it when things like these are used as bonus tracks, but I often get frustrated when they eat up a good amount of the playing time on an album, especially when the album is a mere 38 minutes. It doesn't really matter though, because the original compositions aren't that good anyway.

The only songs from this album that I actually enjoy is the proggy The Edge of Midnight and heavier Hyde. The rest of the album is passable at best. Songs like Crying For Love, She's Only Rock 'N' Roll, Wishing Well and Day After Day are more than skip-worthy.

The musicianship is much weaker than I'm used to hearing from a great band like Savatage. Most of the album is lackluster and uninspired, and the simple riffs get very trivial by the end of the album. I've heard this band do much better.

The production is a typical 80's heavy metal sound, and it's something that I don't really enjoy very much. It's not terrible, but the entire album sounds like it was just mixed on the whim to sound like a top 10 hit (which, of course, is very true, if you know anything about this album). The annoying drum sound and vocal production doesn't help make this weak album any more appealing.

Conclusion:

Fight For The Rock is always considered the weakest Savatage album, and I must say that I agree. When I first bought this album I was pretty excited since I really do love this band, but I'm afraid to say that I really don't care for Fight For The Rock at all. This is worth a 1.5-2 star rating at most.

Report this review (#278755)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars The short: The 'Tage make a foray into pop as per instructions from Atlantic or else...

I love the 'Tage, but this album is the "so-so" pop effort made by the band at the request of the record company, complete with PMRC type warning stickers... yet there were no curse words in any of the songs to be found. It has 3 strong songs and one good one revamped from the earlier days while the rest is not the best if you would wish to dig and rock out to typical 80's hard rock.

Jon's voice and piano/key playing (though my cassette notes say someone else, *Russian type name forgotten-lost cassette*, played synths, which I doubt) and Chris' guitar work are always top notch. The production is pure 80's metal with lots of "verb". Too much on the snare. It starts to sound like Kweensryche (sic).

The songs that are worth it:

The synth intro of "The Edge Of Midnight" is an obvious yet more complex homage to "Mr. Crowley." It's a good rocker with some more synths thrown in the right spots. It's my fav song here. It's worth the album alone.

"Hyde", which to some is the highlight of this album, is a prog-ish metal horror flick in a song. Kind of like what Alice Cooper would have presented... but Savatage does it much better.

"Lady In Disguise" is an upbeat (reworked song in 'Tage's old song Rolodex) ballad that has some piano and synth work. It's got a killer middle 8 and a nice bit out of the solo.

"Red Light Paradise" is another solid rocker sans the prog. Might be about a bordello.

It's not THAT bad. It's not terrible at all. It's not the Savatage we're used to.

All I know is that Atlantic wanted 'Tage to record the songs Jon Oliva wrote for other artists. These proposed songs weren't bonafide 'Tage songs save for "Midnight", "Hyde" and "Red Light". I'm sure Tina Turner or John Waite could rock some of these. I wasn't heart broken when I listened to it as a kid. I liked some of these alot. The others: a Badfinger and a Free cover, and a re-recorded work ("Out On The Streets") didn't work for me. "She's Only Rock And Roll" is kinda like a rockin'-funky vibe like. "Crying For Love" and the title song isn't very good, though.

This album? It's for the fans to gripe about. It is not like "Power Of The Night" ... not like the Savatage we know and love. They come back, however, with the killer "Hall Of The Mountain King" which is highly recommended.

(RIP Chris Oliva)

Report this review (#951300)
Posted Sunday, April 28, 2013 | Review Permalink

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