In the twelve years since their formation, Philadelphia-based trio Fight Amp (formerly known as Fight Amputation) have developed a pretty serious following within the noise rock scene. However, with the June 9th release of their fourth “full”-length, Constantly Off, the three piece are poised to turn heads on a broader scale. Melding elements of hardcore punk with their signature blend of sludge-informed noise rock, Fight Amp transcend borders and open up the floodgates to listeners from all denominations of heavy music.After three years without a peep so far as new material goes, one may have expected a little more than eighteen minute’s worth (which is approximately where Constantly Off clocks in) of new noise. After first listen, though, it’s evident that length is not necessarily of importance. Once Constantly Off gets going, it goes hard, and it rarely stops. Constantly Off, though short and sweet, is one of 2015’s more memorable releases.
The album kicks off with the lead single, Ex Everything, which indulges in a solid minute of directionless distorted guitar riffage of varying sparsity before plunging off into a thick, chugging groove. Factor in some seriously grimy vocals and the tone for the album is set. The opener barely has a chance to taper out in a haze of feedback-laden glory before “Survival Is Strange” kicks things into high gear. Upping the tempo and shedding the sludgy weight of the former in favour of punk-inspired motifs and an infectiously catchy chorus, track two brings with it a sense of energy that makes it a definite stand out on the album. Guaranteed to have you chanting GUILTY! by second listen.
From here, the album takes a little bit of a breather, but after the onslaught that is “Survival Is Strange,” it’s an almost welcomed recession. “Leveling In A Dream” starts out much like “Ex Everything,” with some nondescript distorted noodling, though in this case the build-up ushers in a less-exciting pay-off. Moderately paced and chunky, “Leveling In A Dream” is somewhat uninteresting in comparison to the rest of the album. However, its placement in the grand scheme of the album is calculated, as is evident from the moment “You Don’t Wanna Live Forever” opens. Simple yet effective, the fourth track makes repeated use of an ultra-gritty hook that in its density and raucousness recalls the earlier energy and heaviness of the album.
As the album approaches its conclusion, things start to get really interesting. “I Perceive Reptoids,” the second-to-last track, seems to take cues from the doom metal and grunge genres as much as it does from noise rock and sludge. The best part? It manages to combine these influences beautifully, and in a way that does not stand out in harsh contrast to the rest of the record. “Happy Joyful Life” rounds out the record, and (surprise!) it’s about as far from happy and joyful sounding as a song can get. Built on the foundation of a delightfully grimy bassline which at times takes the spotlight, the sludge is out in full force on this track. The latter half of the song features one giant accelerando, building to a frenzied and sudden conclusion that perfectly encapsulates the fast, hard, and chaotic tone of the entire album.
Simply put, Constantly Off is a definite must-listen for not only fans of noise rock, but for all heavy music listeners. Whether it be the sludge-drenched guitars or the groove-laden bass riffs, the grunge-tinged vocals or the punk-informed song structure, Constantly Off offers something for everyone. Though brief, it certainly manages to pack a wallop. Allowing themselves just eighteen minutes to showcase the last three years of their development, Fight Amp squander no time in delivery, which is part of what makes Constantly Off so memorable.
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Fight Amp’s Constantly Off gets…