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Articles Home » 1992 Articles » Fair Warning (Germany) - 1992 Fair Warning
 
Fair Warning (Germany) - 1992 Fair Warning



ARTIST: Fair Warning (Germany)
ALBUM: Fair Warning
LABEL: WEA
SERIAL: 9031-77043-2
YEAR: 1992
CD REISSUE: 2006, Frontiers, FRCD 294

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Tommy Heart - vocals * Helge Engelke - guitars, keyboards, backing vocals * Andy Malacek - guitars * Ule W Ritgen - bass, backing vocals * C.C Behrens - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Longing For Love * 02 When Love Fails * 03 Call Of The Heart * 04 Crazy * 05 One Step Closer * 06 Hang On * 07 Out On The Run * 08 Long Gone * 09 Eyes Of Rock * 10 Take A Look At The Future * 11 The Heat Of Emotion * 12 Take Me Up

WEBLINKS: www.fair-warning.de


Background
It's been described as one of the greatest albums in melodic hard rock. Tall order perhaps, but wherever you go around the Internet - particularly to the shrines of the genre, You will find many admirers of the debut Fair Warning album. Many will know I am a huge fan of this band, and the plaudits are right up there from my point of view. I'm not here to debate the merits of its inherent greatness or not - that is but an opinion. Some will share it, some won't. How did this band come about? Well, you can lay the blame (or the cause) purely at the feet of Zeno Roth, who by 1989 was showcasing a new singer Tommy Heart (previously with Heartlyne and V2). Other members were recruited into the fold. However, Zeno had a musical change of heart, and opted out of his own band to focus on songwriting instead. The remaining band members wanted to continue, and thus the nucleus of Fair Warning was formed. The band recorded a bunch of demo's and had a few labels vying for their signature. They opted for WEA Germany in the end. Forging their identity in the studio under the guidance of producer Rafe McKenna resulted in the debut album hitting the market in 1992, to much acclaim.


The Songs
Most of the songs were written by bassist Ule Ritgen, with two supplied by Helge Engelke and the brilliant 'The Heat Of Emotion' written by Zeno Roth. There are some great tunes here, which still get the occasional spin on my music system. Immediately the strength of the album is evidenced on the opening pair of 'Longing For Love' and 'When Love Fails' - both commercial tunes in the context of melodic hard rock. 'Crazy' has a slightly different arrangement with an insistent synth line for accompaniment and a big chorus. 'One Step Closer' is a brooding rocker, which leads into the tremendous pairing of 'Hang On' and 'Out On The Run'. The former contains some great moments including some fluid bass playing from Ritgen, while the latter - with its James Bond like theme played out during the verses, is simply a stand-out Fair Warning track. The ballads are very cool too. 'The Call Of The Heart', the beautiful and tender 'Take Me Up' and 'Long Gone' are the main contenders here, the latter is still one of the best ballads they've ever done. 'The Eyes Of The Rock' is an uptempo rabble rouser while 'Take A Look At The Future' is a mid-paced burner with a touch of atmospherics and emotion.


In Summary
The record received great reviews upon its release, though the band was asked to re-record a handful of tunes which were closer in sound to their original demos. And though the band had signed with WEA , a major label at the time (albeit the German branch), they couldn't do a lot with the promotion on a worldwide scale and hence the album didn't do as well as the band had hoped. This shortfall was made up by the huge popularity the band secured in Japan - admittedly riding on the back of Zeno's past popularity there. The band were scheduled to support Whitesnake on their European tour but guitarist Helge Engelke broke his arm and was out of action for five months. Ironically, in the years which followed, Fair Warning have played very few live gigs, but this still hasn't stopped them from being popular. 'Rainmaker' - their 1995 album was quite different to this one, and it proved to be their last act with WEA. For a blast from the past, slap on 'Fair Warning' and admire a band in their prime.


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Comments
#1 | jeffduran on February 08 2008 08:09:17
Excellent but us in the states didnt get to hear it until mid 90's. Great band who carried the melodic rock torch during the 90's....
#2 | Geir on February 08 2008 20:29:58
I always did like this one and 'Rainmaker' a lot. The latter mentioned album remains their masterpiece, but the likes of 'Longing For Love', 'Crazy', 'Out on the Run' and 'Heat of Emotion' on the debut are perhaps more obvious stand out tracks in general melodic rock terms. As George points out, the ballads are also pretty good - all in all Fair Warning's self titled album makes for a very listenable melodic (hard) rock release! It's performed, arranged and recorded to a high standard, too!
#3 | george_the_jack on June 15 2008 16:06:19
In my opinion that is the best hard rock record ever come out from Germany. Pure 10 out 0f 10!
 
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