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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Fair Warning (Germany) - 2006 Brothers Keeper
Fair Warning (Germany) - 2006 Brothers Keeper

ARTIST: Fair Warning (Germany)
ALBUM: Brothers Keeper
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: Tommy Heart - vocals * Helge Engelke - guitars * Ule W Ritgen - bass * C.C Behrens - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Keep Me Waiting * 02 Generation Jedi * 03 All My Love * 04 Rainbow Eyes * 05 Push Me On * 06 Wasted Time * 07 The Cry * 08 The Way * 09 Once Bitten Twice Shy * 10 Tell Me Lies * 11 In The Dark * 12 Still I Believe * 13 All I Wanna Do


WEBLINKS: www.fair-warning.de

Who would've thought? Mid 2000 the German melodic maestros Fair Warning decided to call it quits after four studio albums, a live video and a handful of unreleased tracks. A couple of the band members went off and did other things: namely Tommy Heart to Soul Doctor and Helge Engelke to FW clones Dreamtide. I never expected the band to get back together but like anything these days, you should never be surprised that such unlikely reunions will eventuate. The band are minus second guitarist Andy Malacek and reunite only as a four-piece. So what have we learned in their six-year absence? Well, for starters, they have been sorely missed, secondly, no other German pretenders to the throne have risen up to take FW's place, and thirdly, six years demonstrates that there must have been a void of quality melodic rock coming out of Europe. Apart from the odd exceptional band (name me one outfit somebody please?), I'd say all three points have some validity. The recipe is much the same, the quality delivery is there.. and these guys have just picked up as if they've never been away.

The Songs
For a reunion album, we're treated to thirteen tracks and 70 minutes of playing time. 'Brothers Keeper' lacks something that their previous studio albums contained. Each of those albums were different in their own right, so to FW's credit they've kept the recipe relatively similar though the ingredients are slightly different. 'Don't Keep Me Waiting' is familiar stuff we've heard before, while 'Generation Jedi' is a kinda clunky arrangement, trying to be too clever for it's own good. Ballads start early with 'All My Love', typically classy FW with a fiery mid-section courtesy of Mr Engelke. 'Rainbow Eyes' takes us back to the 'Four' era, recalling string plucks and Ritgen's fluid bass lines. Meanwhile 'Push Me On' is the hardest-hitting track on the album, but the melody is omni-present. The verse arrangement reminds you of Journey's 'Separate Ways'.. especially where Tommy sings lines such as .. 'troubled times..'.. you get the drift.. The 'Rainmaker' connection comes in the shape of 'Wasted Time', the organic and stripped back sound a contrast to the rest of the album. More typical FW melodic rock is served up with 'The Cry'. Next track 'The Way' opens up with an exotic introduction, the mystical overture has a shimmering quality about it. Very cool track nonetheless. 'Once Bitten Twice Shy' is a swanky blast of bluesy melodic rock so prevalent from the 90's decade. My fave track is the 'Four' flavoured excellence of 'Tell Me Lies', the faster pace enabling C.C Behrens to give the feet a good workout! Continuing the heavy-handedness is the track 'In The Dark', though it is bought to a halt by the excellent anthemic power-ballad 'Still I Believe'. The album ends with a sixties sounding romp 'All I Wanna Do', though it is given a 2006 melodic rock wake-up call. It would be hard to avoid humming 'Sergeant Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band' to this one.. Also, listen for the hidden track at the twelve minute mark on this song.. sounds like something from a German Bier Fest!

In Summary
Already I've seen FW's target market of Japan get right in behind the band and this album. The overall quality is probably not up there with the debut, nor 'Four', which contained some brilliant tracks and are two of my favourite albums of recent years. However, even a 'so-so' FW album is far superior to many other 2006 issued product. I'm happy that many tracks here provide me with aural gratification, though others might not agree. I hate to sound like a cliche, but there really is something for everyone on 'Brothers Keeper', a couple of tracks that don't quite do it for me, but generally, this is a very pleasing effort all round. A very welcome return!

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