If there’s one thing I’ve learned from these bipolar reviews and our live debates, is that the Bucketheads tend to agree with each other more often than not. Every single bipolar review I (Chris Aitkens) have done thus far, my score has ended up fairly close to the other writer’s score. I thought this would change once we added a few new members to our team, but it turns out Ted Berger’s taste in music is quite similar to mine. So when we both listened to Deliverance, the new album from Norway’s Fight the Fight, we had the same gag reaction.
Ok, I get why I was assigned to review this. After all, I’m one of the new guys so I have to pay my dues, but Chris, ain’t you been here a while? What heinous thing have you done to anger our Lizard Queen to get this assignment? After forcing myself to listen through the entire album, I honestly wanted to just provide this clip from Robot Chicken as my whole review and call it a day. But, in the spirit of journalistic integrity, I shall endure. The opener and title track “Deliverance” isn’t bad, albeit unremarkable, and the following song “Ritual” has a lot of promise until the almost shrill vocals in the chorus ruin it. But it’s the cringe-worthy third track “Triggerfinger” that sets the trajectory of the entire album into a nosedive. The song sounds like someone tried to marry the <sarcasm> genius lyrical and vocal talents </sarcasm> of Red Hot Chilli Peppers circa Blood Sugar Sex Magik with the <sarcasm> timeless mastery of nu-metal gods </sarcasm> Linkin Park. I’m sorry, I know some of you might be into that, but for me, that’s the equivalent of being in middle school and thinking it’s a great idea to mix some Baby Duck into your Mountain Dew Baja Blast to seem cool.
As a whole, the album feels like this Norwegian troupe just took a “How to Write Nu-Metal” playbook co-authored by Disturbed and Linkin Park, attempted to erase the “Nu” and apply more groove elements and gruffer vocals, but you can never fully remove the Nu. The album has many terrible parts that made me cringe, but it wasn’t all horrible. Unfortunately, the parts that weren’t bad were generic at best and forgettable at worst. But some of the choices were just absurd. For example, the “harmonies” used in the choruses to “Love” and “Paradigm” where there are multiple female vocal tracks accompanying vocalist Lars Vegas’ own clean & shrill tracks as an attempt to accomplish…well, I don’t know, because it sounds like that was pushed through recording while the producer must have been taking a nap.
When Ted told me this album was bad, I thought “How bad could it really be?” After all, Fight the Fight are from Norway, and they’re signed to Metal Blade Records. There’s gotta be something appealing in there, right? Oh, how wrong I was. Deliverance is proof that you shouldn’t judge an album based on its first track. You gotta keep listening just to see how quickly it all falls apart. The opening title track comes in with some bouncy Korn guitars, aggressive growling, and the occasional blast beat. It sounded like something I could maybe get into. Then Lars Vegas introduces this high-pitched faux-melodic wine on the chorus of the second track “Ritual.” That was my “uh oh” moment. Here comes the cringe. It was like they opened up a pandora box of shitiness that goes on to infect the rest of the album. The next track “Triggerfinger” is where everything begins to go downhill. Lars Vegas ditches the screamy vocals for a rap-metal flow, ripping off the “put it in you” line from that Red Hot Chilli Peppers song, along with some overly sexual lyrics that made me want to pour bleach down my ears. It’s as if he can’t decide on a single vocal style, because on “Calling You Back,” he’s singing clean. Normally, I’d be impressed by this variety, but instead, I found myself getting annoyed. There were some moments that initially intrigued me, but they were immediately ruined once Lars Vegas started singing. By the time I reached the final track “Paradigm,” I had fallen under their spell of mediocrity, and the cheesy yet catchy chorus got stuck in my head (Ted: “catchy”? Dude, that mess of “I know I fucked up” is both cringy and a summary on the album as a whole, but def not catchy). And ever since my first listen, I’ve been trying to damage my brain with excess alcohol to get it out.
I’m guessing Metal Blade thought there would be some commercial potential with Fight the Fight, that some surface-level metalheads would fall in love with them. And who knows, maybe 20 years ago, when Nu Metal was king, Fight the Fight could have become world-famous. But now, that sound is outdated and seems to only exist for the sole reason of enraging metal fans.
Written by Ted Berger and Chris Aitkens
*Edited by Dominic Abate