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Witch Cross: Fit For Fight

Well this is a departure from the normal (excellent) extreme metal fare that Hell's Headbangers are known for, what with Fit For Fight being a reissue of the 1984 Roadrunner album by Danish metal band Witch Cross. In sound this release is as Danish as Lars Ulrich is in accent, with the approach being one the Metalli-drummer would have creamed himself over all those moons ago when the likes of Savage and Diamond Head were fuelling his fire for all things NWOBHM. Recorded by Henrik Lundat at the Easy Sound Recording studio where he had added a little black magic to the early Mercyful Fate albums, similarities being drawn between Witch Cross and King Diamond's merrymen were I suppose inevitable. However having taken my first listen to Fit For Fight "blind" as such, the comparisons that immediately came galloping out of the speakers were early Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Savage and in terms of vocals, debut album era Def Leppard. There's a huge upsurge in interest in this genre and indeed there are many bands out there now trying their hand at their own brand of NWOBHM, however a quick blast of F-F-F will confirm that those who were around at the time did it better. Even if they were thousands of miles away in Denmark...

Not quite sure whether to be an album of full on, foot to floor, up an' at 'em charging, or a more refined, foot on the monitor, bass led machine gunning, Fit For Fight lands somewhere in between. However the end results are pretty damn convincing and for any aficionado of the era this is a must hear. Yes, the vocals are overly echoing in nature and the production is dated as hell, but then so are all of the classic NWOBHM albums, it is just that we're used to hearing them that way! The guitar pair of Mike "Vlad" Kock and Thomas Stoney lock together spurting out bristling riffs, and searing solos, while vocalist Alex Savage sits comfortably between the ear piercing screeeem of Rob Halford and the more gutsy roar of Sean Harris (Diamond Head).

With the constraints of the vinyl day, the album's eight tracks clock in at just under 40 minutes, however the sheer quality of the material ensures it's not how much you have, but what you do with it that counts. The stabbing guitar motifs and rumbling riff of "Face Of A Clown" combine maximum velocity romping with considered restraint perfectly. "Axe Dance", which lives up to its name with bassist Jan Field adding to the fret duelling, strongly reminds of Maiden's classic "Phantom Of The Opera", with drummer Anders "A.C." starring throughout. "Light Of A Torch" slows the pace, reaping stomping dividends as it does so through a catchy chorus and refined vocal arrangement, while "Night Flight To Tokyo" kicks the album off in blistering, take no prisoners fashion, although in a catchy mid-paced kind of way.

A one album wonder, Witch Cross continued to demo up material for two years after Fit For Fight, before calling it a day late in 1986. With the band members going on to be involved with a number of different acts over the years. However to coincide with this release and a mooted CD/DVD box set due later this year, Witch Cross are back in action. Safe to say if they reach the heights of Fit For Fight, they'll be well worth keeping your eye out for.

Track Listing
1. Night Flight to Tokyo
2. Face of a Clown
3. Rocking the Night Away
4. Killer Dogs
5. Fight the Fire
6. Axe Dance
7. Light of a Torch
8. Alien Savage

Added: October 27th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: HellsHeadbangers Online
Hits: 1256
Language: english

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