Review Summary: The best thing in the hard rock genre, Steady Damage is a monumental debut with the best vocalist out there
Many great bands and albums do not nearly get the attention they deserve, as I'm sure pissbore would tell you about most Darkthrone albums. This is also the case with a little known pop-punk/hard rock band named Fit For Rivals, formed out of the ashes of hardcore punk band The Explicits. That band released one album and then called it a day and their vocalist, Renee Phoenix, formed a new band heavily influenced by bands such as Garbage. The band have released one album to date, with a follow-up penciled in for a summer 2013 release as constant tweets from Renee reference, and their debut stands out as perhaps the finest album in its genre.
The sound of the band revolves around very simplistic but catchy guitar riffs with some cool lead work over the top such as the way the band weaved the single-note driven lead work around the chords the rhythm played on the band's most famous song Damage. The drumming is fairly quick paced with the bass being buried behind the wall of sound the guitars create, which then leaves the vocals to take center stage. There are a couple of guitar solos on the Steady Damage album with the one on Get With Me being the most worthy of taking note of. The solos on this album are not fast nor complex but really suit the catchy nature and the fast pace of the album. Each guitar riff to this album is one that will remain embedded in the listener's head for some time after hearing with the quick chords that open Get With Me and the speedy riff to Hallelujah being among the best on the album.
The best thing about Steady Damage is the vocal performance courtesy of Renee Phoenix. She ditched her lead guitar work from The Explicit's debut album No Remorse to focus on delivering a strong and suitable vocal performance for Fit for Rivals and she passes this with flying colors. Her vocals are overly masculine and a lot lower in tone than many female rock vocalists out there. Think the gruff sounds that one would get if smoking twenty packs of cigarettes a day and then gloss it over with a fine coat, and factor in a higher and more melodic range on songs such as Damage and you pretty much have the sounds that Renee Phoenix's voice emits on this album. She creates some really catchy vocal patterns on here and her work during the chorus of opener Crash and all through Get With Me are just some of her finer moments. Damage is the best song on here for the vocals, however, with Renee showing off the higher register of her voice during the chorus with the lines "Steady damage, crossed the line" and the rest of the chorus both being catchy and emotionally charged with some really energetic vocals.
Every song on Steady Damage is absolutely top notch but the better ones would be Reason, Crash, Damage and Get With Me. The lyrics to many of the songs are about breaking up and not trusting people again, with Reason standing testament to this with cool lyrics and one of the most melodic choruses out there. Renee virtually bellows the words "give me one good reason to believe in you again" with as much conviction and passion as you will find anywhere in the music industry. Hallelujah is another choice cut due to the fast drum solo that opens it up and the amazing vocal performance during the chorus. It is guaranteed that you will be singing "one more time, one good story, scream hallelujah" all day after hearing this at the top of your voice. Get With Me is a really cool song about wishing to help someone on the brink of suicide, and Renee virtually growls the optimistic lyrics in the most soothing but pissed off voice out there. "Hey, my conscience's on the run, it seems only right to tell you that you're not the only one" she sings in the most beautiful and heart-melting voice out there. Renee carries many of these songs and proves why she is probably the best singer out there.
Steady Damage is a fantastic debut from a band that is the best up and coming hard rock band out there. The choruses are as catchy as it gets, the drumming gets the job done in immaculate fashion and the two guitars weave around each other to create an interesting and enjoyable backdrop. This album is completely flawless and there is not a bad word that can be said about it. Definitely check these guys out if you have not heard them.