When you think of Norwegian bands, images of corpsepaint, droning guitars, and the obligatory calls to the Dark Lord come to mind. Fierce Justice bucks the trend by playing a style that sits right in between classic heavy metal and hard rock. So how does their self-titled debut EP stack up?
The EP opens up with Behind the Thoughts, and I thought for a second that opening riff was Fierce Justice doing a cover of Radar Love, but nope, this is an original track. A driving rhythm kicks in for the verses, with the tempo dropping slightly in the chorus. The band claims a lot of ’70s and ’80s metal and rock influences which are in open display here. Fortunately, the band has enough skill to keep this from sounding like a simple rehash/homage of stuff you’ve already heard.
The band shows some unexpected ambition on the second track, Leap of Faith, a seven-plus-minute, mid-tempo number that gives vocalist Daniel Vladov the opportunity to show what he’s capable of. Although very different vocally, the song has a similar structure to some of Dio’s mid-career solo work.
Spineless picks the pace up again. Employing a near-crossover thrash song construction, this song seems ideal for driving (and maybe even a small mosh pit?). To my ears, Vladov seems like he’s about a key too high for this style, but it’s nothing problematic. Guitarists Navid Hanjani and Nikola Zastranovic get some time to shine towards the end of the song with a ripping solo to close the track out.
The album finishes with Bad Lucy, a high-energy throwback number that might be my favorite on the album. Everything in this song comes together perfectly, from the vocals down to the instrumental solos and breakdowns.
While there is a bit of inconsistency among the four tracks, the band shows a lot of potential for greatness. As they gear up for a full-length release in the near future, I’m looking forward to see how they develop and grow. Not all music has to be cold and dissonant. Sometimes it’s best just to have fun, and Fierce Justice fills that itch.
Special thanks to The Metal Detector Music Promotions for the complementary review copy.