Fight Amp’s Constantly Off: More Like Constantly On, Right?
One of Filthydelphia’s greatest noise rock treasures, Fight Amp(utation), is a band that seems universally appreciated across various subsets of the heavy music landscape. Of course lovers of angular AmRep bands are immediately taken with the sound, but metalheads, punks, and hardcore kids alike can almost always get down too, despite the minimal (if any) screaming in a given song.
And for good reason — there is certainly plenty of raw power behind the band’s aural offerings, but the real strength of the material is that the riffs also seem to serve a greater purpose to each song overall, rather than just rely on setting a mood and sitting in one stagnant zone.
The irony of Fight Amp’s new album Constantly Off is that it is pretty much constantly ON, save for a few well-placed reprieves that begin songs which quickly kick into high gear. These moments feel like slingshots being slyly pulled back, and it’s a testament to the group’s attention to detail and dynamics that we are treated to a peaks-and-valleys sense of contrast which only amplifys the baddassery of the songs.
And this diverse unexpectedness is prevalent in subtle ways throughout — album opener “Ex Everything” begins with a raw, triumphant guitar intro that seems to be going in a particular direction which then changes course into a more low-key bruiser, delivering a thick dirty groove combined with a decent amount of melody creeping in the vocals.
Second track “Survival Is Strange” offers a ripping uptempo punky vibe that almost guarantees a sweaty, scuzzy moshpit. The anthemic shoutout of “GUILTY” in the chorus will make you want to snarl and spit on a friend. In a good way.
Third song “Leveling In A Dream” gives us one of the aforementioned refrain intro moments — a brooding guitar chord progression which seems to be leading into another deep slow jam but powers into a midtempo attack. This approach of keeping the listener on his/her toes feels quite effective, and sustains a nice level of intrigue in between times of noisy/sludgy pummeling.
“You Don’t Want To Live Forever” is a somewhat straightforward ripper but also contains perhaps the most aggressive and melody-driven moments on the whole album. “I Perceive Reptoids” has a fantastic dissonant guitar line as its base and nicely drops the vibe down low for a breakdown about halfway through which ultimately paves the way for a heavy-hitting outro. And final track “Happy Joyful Life” leans on a deliciously chunky bassline and scraped guitar accents early on before settling into a truly nasty focus to close the record out.
Constantly Off is a super short release, clocking in at just 18.5 minutes over 6 songs, but somehow it feels wrong to call this an EP. Given the density of the music and a frenzied, adventurous spirit that requires a few listens to firmly grasp, this banger seems like a little unassuming shifty guy who isn’t afraid to unexpectedly punch a hole in your car window and then cut you with a piece of its jagged glass. Protect your face, but expect to be gleefully bleeding from your ears by the end of it.