There is nothing more refreshing than when you are given a new band to review and the album turns out to be one of your personal highlights of the year. This was the case with this classy Swiss 5 piece outfit with their very traditional AOR / Melodic sound, with more than a toe firmly dipped in the era that was the 1980s but a production that is most certainly from the modern Millennium.
This is a band that have only one thing on their minds and that is to emulate their heroes and the sounds that they grew up listening to.
Straight from the first listen the influences are plastered all over Fighter V with “Bon Jovi, Journey, Whitesnake” and a touch of “Def Leppard” just for good measure. Obviously word must have soon got out about the group because they have snatched support slots with “The Dead Daises, Fozzy, and Bonfire” which is no mean feet, and its just been announced they will be going out as support to “The New Roses” on some upcoming European dates.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUKDfw2loBs&w=560&h=315]
Album opener “DANGEROUS” starts of with a cascading keyboard effect that sounds like a TV game show jingle before heavy drums welcome in a piercing guitar lick and rounded off with Niederbergers scary Bon Jovi sounding vocals. The chorus is a lovely catchy moment all centred around a staggered main riff. Some people say that you can tell when a album is going to be good just by the opening few minutes and to a certain degree that is true because after this first song I was eager to crack on with the second number.
“FRONTLINE” with its up tempo pace driven along with Egloffs rattling high hat drum roll is a prime slice of AOR that gives way to a synth sounding keyboard and then more short sharp stabs of guitar wizzardry from Troxier. Special mention has to go to the vocals that weave everything together and the end result is a very tight sounding foot tapping track.
“HEAT OF THE CITY” again another huge track with a stop / start riff being lead by the keyboards, most importantly this song alone demonstrates the writing abilities of this fine group, with a stratospheric high pitched guitar solo and another fine chorus to sink your teeth into. Although this is another up tempo song nothing sounds cluttered with all the band members complimenting each other perfectly.
“CITY OF SINNERS” the albums first single is a proper call to arms and thunders along with some hard hitting drums and prominent vocals. I have to admit on first listen I found it hard to understand why it was chosen as the single but after 3 or 4 more plays I finally understood that this track is a grower big time with guitar/keyboard licks left right and centre and another chorus that makes this song almost triumphant sounding, a real feel good factor. Although I have previously mentioned the influences that FIGHTER V have drawn from, I will be brave and also mention…. classic Michael Kiske era HELLOWEEN on certain powerful sections of this song.
“HEADLINES” with its splattering horn section and jigging groove is a proper eye opener and hugely enjoyable song, soaring power vocals and a big departure from the rest of the album. Its great that the guys feel comfortable throwing in a curve ball and boy does it work. Just one listen of the joint guitar / saxophone solo will have you smiling from ear to ear. This reminds me of classic AOR band “STAGE DOLLS” as another group who would have the balls to include this song. Brilliant moment on a already great album.
“SAVE YOUR LOVE FOR ME” with its acoustic strumming and gentle vocals is what a power ballad should sound like, slowly building and building with a early soaring guitar solo that give it that extra boost, a proper lighter in the air moment and a song I will never tire of listening to. Proof positive that a simple constructed song if performed well can become one of the albums highlights.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWi6OazDIrE&w=560&h=315]
What better way to round things off with boogie woogie piano and cowbell infested “TURN IT UP” another feel good high octane moment and had me smiling in appreciation as the lyrics relating to all things good in life is so god damn cheerful you have to be a miserable sort of person not to enjoy.
Melodic Rock can sometimes get a bad reputation for being cheesy and some bands sounding the same as many other bands, this is not the case with FIGHTER V this is a breath of fresh air with sounds so different from many acts out there. I will not hesitate to buy a copy of the CD for the car and enjoy this release many times. The band should feel very satisfied with this release and certainly need to be filed under….ones to watch in the future.
Review by STEVE BRUTY for metalplanetmusic