Fair Warning are a band that have managed to keep below my music radar and this is quite surprising. Having listened to this “Best of ” compilation a number of times the surprise seems to grow. Having been a fan of big, anthemic rock for as long as I can remember, I would put Fair Warning up amongst the cream of the European bands from the late 80s/early 90s (think Europe, Stage Dolls and Bonfire). Having resurrected themselves 6 years ago following a five year break, Fair Warning have released two albums and a live album (to capitalise on their sold out tour of Japan in 2010) in that time and now follow this with a “Best Of” compilation on Steamhammer/SPV in March.. The German four piece cover all of the bases that appeal to children of 80s rock . (Yes, you! You know who you are.) Anthems, ballads, driving rockers and generally the whole 9 yards. Lots of guitars but nothing too over the top.
There is a nice mix of live, studio and rare tracks – more importantly the running order makes for a great start to your introduction to Fair Warning – they do not just follow the chronological order of their 10 preceding albums. Standout tracks on CD1 of this two disc set include “Angels of Heaven”, the acoustic starting “Long Gone”, the much more metal tinged “Generation Jedi”.
Perhaps starting the second disc with a cover of the Led Zepellin classic “Rock & Roll” was a display of bravery bordering on the foolish but you really do get a sense of the intensity of the Fair Warning live show. The acoustic nature of the tracks culled from the “Live at Home” album really allow for the lyrics and song structure to stand out. I suspect that massive success in the UK was prevented because Fair Warning were European and not British or American – such a shame as the song writing, musicianship and pomp really make for some great listening.
The only area that I can see some, probably unfair, criticism is in the vocals of Tommy Heart. His strong and powerful rock voice really soars but there is that very identifiable German/European twang to his English – still it didn’t do the Scorpions or Europe any harm!
Based on this I can see these boys going down a storm at Firefest. If you like your rock of the AOR variety you need to hear this compilation.
Released 26th March 2012 on Steamhammer/SPV
More information: www.fair-warning.de