Release DetailsLABEL Hells Headbangers
RELEASED ON 10/23/2012
Fit For Fight is a damn-near mandatory listen for anyone into great classic metal
Fit For Fight (Reissue)
I suppose if you’re only gonna release one record, you’d better make it a winner. And if time and legend mostly overlook it, well... I guess that’s just how it goes sometimes...
For Denmark’s Witch Cross, at least thusfar, Fit For Fight is that record – their sole full-length, originally released in 1984. The band has reformed in recent years, so there’s still a chance that they could either add to their legacy or sully their perfect track record with some lesser offering, but for now, they’re working with a perfect score. Thanks to the fine folks at Hells Headbangers, you’re getting yet another shot at picking up Fit For Fight – this is the second time that particular label has reissued Fight, the first in a vinyl-only limited edition of 111 copies, and it’s the fifth issuance of the record overall. There’s a reason that Fit For Fight keeps coming back around, and it’s a simple reason: It rules.
Musically, Fit For Fight is very much a product of its time and, to a lesser extent, its place. In terms of that geographic component, these tracks were recorded by the same engineer who recorded the classics by Witch Cross’ fellow Danes in Mercyful Fate, and there’s a similar raw and edgy tone to the mix and the guitars, though Witch Cross by nature is much less dark and eeeeevil than Fate. From a chronological standpoint, in 1984, the NWOBHM was winding down, but it was still the defining movement of the burgeoning decade, and stylistically, Fit For Fight is very much in the vein of British outfits like Saxon, Tygers Of Pan Tang, and Tokyo Blade.
Vocalist Alex Savage has a pure and soaring clean tenor voice, with no wailing falsetto screams or harsher edges; guitarists Mike Wlad and Cole Hamilton run through NWOBHM riffs and leads with an expert patience. Fit For Fight isn’t overly speedy, overly heavy, overly dark – it’s just good classic metal from the golden days. Witch Cross could pen some memorable tracks – the opener “Night Flight To Tokyo”; “Rocking The Night Away” with its “Living After Midnight”-ish drum intro and (more-than-)slightly goofy lyrics; the Maiden-ish guitar harmonies and gallop of “Fight The Fire”; even the appropriately titled instrumental “Axe Dance.” There’s nary a weak tune to be found, and therein lies Fit For Fight’s ultimate success and the reason for its lasting appeal.
The production and the overall approach are both dated, of course, but this latest remastering job sounds good (though I admit I have only a previous reissue to really compare it to). The artwork has been restored – one of those previous re-releases altered the band’s admittedly ugly bat-wings-and-sword logo and wrapped Fight’s fantasy warrior scene artwork in a blue frame, which has now been removed.
Trad metal enthusiasts and fans of the good ol' days rejoice, for here’s the fifth coming of a great moment, albeit one regrettably without the bonus tracks that augmented an earlier issuing. (Fit For Fight is Witch Cross’ only full-length, but they also released multiple demos that feature tracks not on this record. The entire discography has been rounded up in a four-LP set called All That’s Fit For Fighting, released in early 2012, again by Hells Headbangers.) Fit For Fight is a damn-near mandatory listen for anyone into great classic metal, and it’s great to have it readily available once again. May time and legend overlook it no more...