Hungry For Nothing
posted on 3/2008 By:
The typically entertaining chaps at Translation Loss Records bring us Fight Amp, a self-described grunge/punk outfit from New Jersey. The grunge and punk connotations are wholly accurate as Fight Amp brings a sound straight out of Seattle in 1990 with a dash of Discharge as the vocalist (I researched as far as I could and can't find the names of the people in this band) sounds eerily like Cal Morris (Discharge) throughout Hungry for Nothing.
Now, I'm going to be up front with everyone. All you metalheads are going to lash the fuck out of me, but at least I'm "keepin' it real." I grew up with grunge and I never stopped liking it. I was four years old when Reign in Blood came out. I never went to a metal show in the 80s and I didn't see Metallica live until they cut their hair off. I missed the 80s metal extravaganza, so what? I did get grunge though, and it shaped the music I would end up listening to immensely. I always heard from the metal genre that "grunge killed metal" and that "grunge is the reason that fucking Winger broke up so fuck grunge". To which I say, I would trade Kix and Warrant for Soundgarden and the Screaming Trees any day of the fucking week. If you disagree with that, then your opinion is factually wrong. Grunge put hair metal out of business and rightfully so. It buried a dead horse and music *gasp* progressed. If grunge hadn't have done this, I don't see how Pantera could have topped the billboard charts. I don't see how Metallica could have sold 24 million copies of their album. I don't see how Ozzfest could have started. Yeah....the 90s sure were a dark time for metal. Totally.
I also like the comments on how grunge killed the guitar solo. To which I say, Kim Thayil, Mike McReady, and Jerry Cantrell. In summary, I'm a child of the 90s and I'm not a metal poser, I just like the music. I like grunge and I'm glad it killed hair metal and I'm even more glad I got that off my chest.
Fight Amp is grunge in the sense of Green River or the Melvins. It's sludgy, often plodding, post-hardcore grungy goodness with an authentic early 90s production. It really pours a layer of atmosphere all over the album that puts you back in your acid wash jeans in 1990. It also makes you want to shoot heroin. But seriously, there's more thought in this band then you can gather from one listen. There's a curious mix of styles and a lot of variation from song to song but the band never really strays from their core sound of Melvins and Discharge having a sailor's triangle with newer Mastodon. It's authentic and it's engaging.
Musically the band is fuzzy and not especially brutal, but often intense. "Lungs" has a great d-beat hardcore run around the 1:00 mark while "Bound and Hagged" is one of the more Melvins-sounding songs on HFN. "Get High and Fuck" is my favorite song with its discordant but crushing riffs and droning tempo clocking in at around 6 1/2 minutes. It's almost reminiscient at points of very early Soundgarden, something I have no problem with.
With all this name dropping of Seattle bands, Fight Amp does much to maintain the ambiguity of what they're trying to accomplish. There's not really any actual imitation but maybe some emulation of the aformentioned bands. That said, I think Fight Amp would fit in on Sub Pop in 1989 as much as they fit on Translation Loss in 2008, which says a lot about what they're doing here.
Now, if you are of the grungy, Fugazi-loving and experimental post-rock spirit, I would highly recommend you check out Fight Amp. It's discordant, unmelodic, grungy rock that sticks to your ribs and to be totally cliche; 'has its own thing'. I'm curious to see where Fight Amp goes from here. With as much variation this band has from song to song using essentially the same instruments on every one, it seems like the sky's the limit for these guys. They made a new fan on this one.
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