Monday, February 28, 2011

Classic melodic rock CD of the week

By Stephen Kasenda

FAIR WARNING "Fair Warning" (1992)

Fair Warning is one of the most successful and consistent German melodic rock acts, quite big in Europe and huge in Japan. Unfortunately, they are a relative stranger in USA because when their record came out, grunge was being played all over the place. Formed after bassist Ule Ritgen and singer Tommy Heart left Zeno, this debut captured Heart’s strong character and mighty voice, built on a foundation of solid melodic hard rock based on the combination of their senior fellow German bands, Bonfire and Scorpions; they also have been influenced by American heroes, Bon Jovi and Journey. Andy Malecek and Helge Engelke exert extraordinary guitarmanship here and you can hear their cheering and shrilling plays throughout the tracks.

The band runs back and forth to provide a balanced platform of rockers and ballads, standing proudly on the borders of hard rock and AOR. Out of twelve tracks, I can say that mostly are well-crafted and high-quality arrangements. "Longing For Love" is one of my fave midtempo tracks; I recall first hearing this song on the radio when it topped the local magazine's rock chart. It smartly blends the chugging AC/DC riffs and climbs up to a soaring melodic chorus. Zeno's old track, "The Heat of Emotion", makes its way here, and this is definitely another winner packed with blissful harmonies. Some other good rockin' tracks such as "Hang On" and "The Eyes of The Rock" are worth checking out, but the best uptempo track of the album is "Out On The Run", with an energetic verse and soaring chorus. On the ballads side, "The Call of The Heart", "One Step Closer", and "Long Gone" are just marvelous, classic, and hauntingly beautiful.

Fair Warning's eponymous debut is a superb effort and though they kept releasing great records, it seems they just can't surpass this one. The sound production is excellent, the musicianship is above average, the songs are timeless, and nothing really can't stop me from giving this a full five stars. A perfect and essential buy for big fans of melodic hard rock and AOR freaks!

Read more of Stephen’s features at MetalMusicArchives.