1. Breathing Room 2. Driven 3. In Error 4. Stopped Dead 5. What Went Wrong2004 Goodfellow Records
Sometimes there is just a certain undeniable quality about a band that clicks with me from the moment I start listening. Whether it's a certain guitar tone, vocal quality or just overall feel, something about some bands and discs just reach out and grab me. The Good Fight did that the first time I heard their demo material. At the time, I couldn't explain quite what it was about this relatively straight-forward hardcore band that I found so appealing, but with the release of their debut EP "Breathing Room," I finally have a few things that I can put my finger on. The first and most immediately noticeable difference between the Good Fight and other bands is their powerful vocals. If they sound a bit familiar, it's because their singer is none other than Dave Walker of Harvest. This certain basic familiarity certainly helped me get into this record. Walker's presence is powerful and versatile and his lyrics are among the most mature in hardcore. The second thing that sets the Good Fight apart and above is their intelligent guitar work. Sounding equally inspired by punk and metal, parts of this record remind me of Strife or some of the thrashier stuff Strung Out did in the late 90's, particularly the disc's title track. I'm assuming that listeners have lead guitarist Carl Skildum of Threadbare fame to thank for this. So the guitars and vocals are both standout, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee a great record. What pushes them over the top is their ability to avoid hardcore's conventions. It was nice to hear a hardcore record that wasn't built around breakdowns and moshy parts, but rather well-crafted lyrics, cleverly layered guitars, anthemic singalongs and a rhythm section with something a little different to offer. The only real flaw in this record is its lack of new material. The first two tracks are new recordings, but the other four cuts are from the group's 2003 demo. As such, this EP really only serves to whet one's appetite for their forthcoming Indecision Records full-length, due out this fall. Bottom Line: What the Good Fight brings to the proverbial table that much of their competition doesn't can be summed up in one word: intelligence. These guys have been around the block and played in enough bands to know what they're doing and why they're doing it. Every aspect of the music just feels a few notches smarter than the average hardcore band. These songs don't feel like they're being written for a certain group of kids or style, but rather for the purpose of expressing something that couldn't have come out any other way. While this EP only contains six songs and only two of them are completely new, "Breathing Room" is soon to be the essential introduction of a future hardcore giant.