Raised Fist - Fuel (Cover Artwork)

Raised Fist

Fuel (1998)

Burning Heart

Sweden has a penchant for producing some great skate-punk bands. Millencolin, Satanic Surfers, No Fun At All, Randy, Astream, Adhesive.... They've been also known to produce some decent hardcore bands (ok, legendary - Refused anyone?) Raised Fist fits in quite well.

Raised Fist started out as a typical hardcore band, recording a good EP in You're Not Like Me, yet nothing that able to force it's way into a congested American hardcore scene. Stronger Than Ever, the follow-up EP gave them a bit more of an identity, as they infused a bit more melody, along with more agression. Finally, after a long wait, they recorded a full album.

Fuel is a bit of a paradox. It contains some of their slowest material, as well as some of their heaviest. They continue in the direction taken by Stronger Than Ever.

The album starts off with a bit of a strange song in "Monumental", which changes pace & tone at least three times before it is finished. The next song, "Reversal", begins as a very average song, and ends with a guitar riff that, while not very technically difficult (any hack with a guitar could play it), is simply astounding, so good that when playing it live, they decide not employ the accompanying lyrics, and just play it as a solo (quite effectively I might add). "Reversal" is followed by "Pretext", one of my all-time favourite songs. This song alone is worth the price of admission. Probably their slowest song, yet one of the most agressive. The screamed lyrics over palm-muted guitar makes you wish you could understand even one fucking word either of the the singers says.

The problem with the album is after "Pretext", with the next eight songs (making eleven in total, saving you some mental math). These are all very good songs, and any one of them would be a standout on a compilation, yet they lack the originality that the first three have. They all employ the same sort of musical devices - palm muting, start/stop choruses, tying together different segments with killer bass lines....in much the same manner. This all adds up to some great head-bangin' fun, but you tend to lose track of where you are in the CD.

I can't think of an appropriate way to wrap this up, so I'll just finish by saying that if you're into bands like Snapcase, or the heavier Boy Sets Fire stuff, or just hardcore music in general, you'll definately want to pick this up. Even if you're not, but are looking for something new, give it a shot...you never know....