Fist Fight in the Parking Lot – Fist Fight in the Parking Lot (21 February 2012, Innervenus Music)
Good evening, readers! Sorry for the tardiness of this review — I totally meant to publish it this morning, but then I got distracted by something shiny. It happens. Actually it was an announcement that the new self-titled album by Corrosion of Conformity was streaming in full over at AOL Music. I hadn’t heard it yet, and I don’t know how long it’ll be available, so I wanted to jump on that. I’m sure you can understand. If you haven’t heard it yet, you’ll probably want to check it out, too.
From what I’d read about it, the new COC album is supposed to appeal to fans of their earlier, more hardcore-oriented work, as well as those who prefer their more recent foray into Sabbath-inspired stoner metal. So I was curious to see what it was all about. What I found surprised me: I heard very little of the sound mainly associated with either era of the band’s history, instead feeling more of an old-school doom vibe — along the lines of some of Wino‘s earlier work, or any of a slew of his bands’ imitators. A style I enjoy, to be sure, but one that can also seem monotonous at times, over the course of an entire record. This was one of those occasions: despite some higher points, the album really didn’t reach out and grab my attention at any point. Missing here were the truly memorable songs that make you want to sing along, or hear them again and again.
Well, all of that soon changed, because a little later in the day I switched gears to the brand new release by Pittsburgh’s Fist Fight in the Parking Lot, made available today through the Innervenus Music Collective.
From the very first moments of opening track “S&M,” here were the riffs I’d been hoping for: fuzzy and hard-hitting, but more than anything, catchy. Right off the bat this has the hallmarks of a great memorable stoner jam, reminiscent of a song like “Albatross,” for instance. While singer Abby Krizner may not channel Pepper Keenan any more than COC bassist and current vocalist Mike Dean does, her voice is well-suited to the style, displaying a mastery of the “pissed-off rock chick” sneering delivery, as well as a good command of melodies and harmonies when called for. The latter really shine on “Side Steppin’ Ninja,” which would probably be the most likely hit single from this album, and which was previously available as part of the FREE Iron Atrocity compilation (get it here, if you haven’t already).
Elsewhere on the album, shades of sludge or grunge enter into the riff-fest; in particular, there are several moments that bring to mind Facelift-era Alice in Chains. After eight tracks of high-quality sludgey hard-rocking goodness, the final song “Blue Jesus” definitely brings in a mellower attitude, closing out the album with a very similar effect to Deliverance‘s “Pearls Before Swine,” as it also incorporates plenty of punch just like that song does.
In addition to “Side Steppin’ Ninja” being available on Iron Atrocity, that song can also be heard — along with “S&M” and “The Lone Gunman” — at the Innervenus artist page, here. The Fist Fight in the Parking Lot album is now available to download from Amazon, here. The CD can be ordered directly from Innervenus (on their Merch page), or if you’re in Pittsburgh this weekend, check out the official CD release party happening Saturday night! More information can be found at the band’s official website or Facebook page, as well as the Innervenus website or Facebook.