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Cage Fight - Cage Fight review


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Band: Cage Fight
Album: Cage Fight
Release date: May 2022

01. Intro
02. The Mirror Shattered
03. Killer
04. Hope Castrated
05. Make A Decision
06. Guillotine
07. Cage Fight!
08. Shine Don’t Fade
09. One Minute
10. Tell Me What Real Is
11. Respect Ends
12. Eating Me Alive [feat. Trevor Strnad]
13. My Dreams
14. Bitch In The Pit [Body Count cover]

Hell in a cell.

As far as aspirations go, combining technical metal with thrash and hardcore punk is certainly a good sound to aim for. Firing out of the gate with their self-titled debut album, Cage Fight are a side-project born out of frustration and anger mixed with a desire to try something new; this is a hard-hitting record that sees a unlikely cast of characters combine to produce a good first effort and a good first step on what could be an interesting journey.

As someone who has never been particularly fond of TesseracT, Cage Fight was an interesting proposition, the result of guitarist James Monteith wanting to break free of his creative constraints and just rip out some heavy, unchained riffs. To this end, he has recruited a group of musicians who share his desire to create loud noises in a musical fashion, including one-time “The Voice France” contestant and former ETHS singer Rachel Aspe.

The band’s approach is a hybrid of high-energy tech thrash with an undercurrent of punk influence that runs throughout. It is certainly a change from Monteith’s day job, trading in his djent-prog style for the high energy riffage of tracks like “The Mirror Shattered”. Aspe roars throughout as if to challenge the likes of Larissa Stupar of Venom Prison as to who is the best of the newer wave of female death metal vocalists. There are some solid moments on Cage Fight, from the addictive groove riff in “Killer” through to “Make A Decision”, which is topped off with a powerful solo. The blistering “One Minute” and “Shine Don’t Fade” ensure the second half of the album doesn’t lose the momentum of the first. Plews’ drumming is perhaps the best fit for the sound the band aim for, merging the punk vibe with the metallic technique employed throughout, especially on “Eating Me Alive” (featuring Trevor Strnad R.I.P.).

The album, however, is a strange one for me; while there are some ok tracks like “Hope Castrated” and “My Dreams”, they are undermined by the two consistent issues that run through this album: namely, Aspe’s vocals and Monteith’s tone. The former issue is that Aspe limits herself to full throttle roaring for much of the album, with little to no variation, such that she becomes monotonous and off-putting the more you hear, denting your enjoyment of the songs. The latter issue is that Monteith’s guitar tone tries to balance his djent roots with high-energy thrashcore riffing, leaning too much into the former at the expense of the latter. Songs like “Guillotine” and “Respect Ends” lack the power to really make the most of the cutting riffs featured in each track.

Though it has its moments, the album doesn’t consistently live up to the hype and hope they have built around themselves; with that said, I find myself replaying the album more than I had expected to, and more than it may warrant with the issues facing it. If the band continue on and build up on the groundwork they have laid out here, the issues are minor enough to tweak and fix on a subsequent follow up, leaving Cage Fight as an exciting proposition going forward, if not the complete article right now.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Production: 6

Written on 21.05.2022 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.

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