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Thursday, August 4, 2011

REVIEW: Fisc (FRA) - Tracker (1984)

Fisc is french heavy metal band formed in 1981. They put out their first demo at 1982 and after that released four full lengths in 80s along with one EP and one single. Tracker is their debut from 1984.

Fisc play quite melodic and straight forward euro-metal with hard rocking edge in their music, but definetely falling more in heavy metal field at least with the debut album. Tracker was released under Mausoleum label which had loads of a bit similar standard rocking euro heavy metal bands under their wings like Ostrogoth, Crossfire and Wildfire. Fisc is stylistically bit similar to all of those. The sound is quite unpolished (but not really rough at all) and riffing is straight forward bit like Accept's rhythm guitars.

What differentiates this from for example Crossfire and Ostrogoth is more laid back, relaxed and lighter musical approach. Standard rocking heavy metal bands from 80's era especially under Mausoleum Records wings were quite rough sounding and dirty. Especially many bands from Belgium and Germany. Tracker sounds quite much lighter (partly because of the mix) and poppier even. This is kind of a band you could imagine drifting into glam metal scene from their original sound late 80's as it sounds somewhat natural transition when listening the album.

Despite even poppy heavy metal influences and overall bit more commercial approach than their label mates Ostrogoth and Crossfire - this album is not sucker. This album borrows elements from melodic NWOBHM - especially the leads while rhythm section is more straight forward biting Accept-Ostrogoth style but not as aggressive – there’s also fair amount of shredding in the mix which is the key here to bring these songs more alive. Vocals are decently good, not as snotty or rough like most Mausoleum label bands tend to have. Singer uses more clean voice from mid to mid-high pitched - with fair amount of soul. Reminds me of something like Omen's J.D. Kimball when he sings with more deep clean voice but less powerful - mixed with slightly hard rock ready roughness in his voice (but nodding more towards clean than rough).

Album opens quite fantastically with Accept’laden track Tracker with its simple yet powerful main rhythm riff. Pre-chorus/chorus is just really damn catchy with melodic lead guitar riff just nailing it in the background and shredding parts are skillful. Danger is more NWOBHM influenced track with it’s rock’n’roll’ish riffs - the damn chorus sounds it would fit into Angel Witch’s debut. Running With The Devil sounds a bit like Priest meets Maiden with rhythm section very much in favor of Priest while while lead melodies nod more to Maiden – definite true heavy metal track here. Don’t Dream Too Much is then bursting out totally straight forward pounding hard rock. A few catchy lead riffs to be found here although bit generic as the whole song is pretty much based on one simple rhythm riff. Rock’n’Roll follows with pretty much along the same lines with a more laid back rocking track focused around one simple rhythm riff with some leads added. Nothing spectacular but works nicely. More partylike upbeat moment on the album is Sad Girl with happier melodies and rock-heavy edge. Hungry For Blood allows a bit more space for creativity. It includes a lot of shredding and NWOBHM meets Priest style rhythm section. Bass lines are very audible and sound fine – actually bass dominates some parts here like the slowdown part where guitars silence for only vocals and bass to take the stage. The track brings somewhat Satanic Rites debut into my mind especially on the part of bass.

Problems with this album arise perhaps mediocrity of some things. On the other hand rhythm guitar riffs are bit too generic at times as are songs overall – but then again lead guitar riffs and shredding brings songs more alive, it’s certainly one of the strong points in this record. The band definitely has something going on here, but lack some aggression and power in my opinion. Record is too laid back overall and while sounds “nice” it just lacks the final “bite”. Especially the sound mix could be so much stronger. Singer is decent but could better. When he uses his more deep soulful voice he sounds great, bit like J.D.Kimball, but most of the times just fading into mediocrity. He has good voice but needs to learn use it better. Bass stands out and is definitely better areas in the record alongside the shredding and lead guitar melodies. Quite enjoyable combination of more commercial and laid back – yet straight forward Accept meets NWOBHM 80’s heavy metal – with more hard rock and poppy (but not too poppy) edge.. Worth of checking out although won’t blow your mind - especially for the first three songs - "Tracker" being my absolute favorite!
76/100 (Good)

(Unfortunately unavailable from - but why don't you get their second album Break Out from 1985 instead - click below)

  • Jean-Michel Mauffray - Guitar
  • Alain Aimé - Guitar
  • Pierre Bechet - Bass, Vocals
  • Dominique Henry - Drums

  • 1. Tracker 03:19
  • 2. Danger 03:16
  • 3. Running With The Devil 04:15
  • 4. Don't Dream Too Much 04:23
  • 5. Sad Girl 03:29
  • 6. Midnight Killer 02:56
  • 7. Hungry For Blood 04:35
  • 8. Rock'n'Roll 05:07
  • 9. Teaser Woman 03:55
    • Total running time: 35:15

For Collectors:
(Following prices have raised since ’99 but will give you direction - my bet is you can double them up)
Used album price @ Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (1999):

Label – Mausoleum/8352
Type – LP/B/84
Near Mint – $8.50
Very Good+ - $4.50

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