Release Date: February 21, 2012
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a blue-collar town, full of rich color, and rough and tumble men and women. There is character in Steeltown, and on any given night it’s a good place to see a Fist Fight In The Parking Lot. You won’t find watered down beer and a bar brawl here. Fist Fight In The Parking Lot is a take it outside and bloody your knuckles kind of band.
The quartet of guitarist/vocalist Abby Krizner (yes, chicks can hit hard too), guitarist Jason Sichi, bassist Johnnie McCallough, and drummer Chris Ruane, approach their music with the same abandon of a wrecking ball. If you think you know what to expect, prepare to be sucker-punched. If you’re looking for a sound equivalent think something along the lines of a Black Sabbath foundation upon which a concrete mix of Corrosion of Conformity blends with any number of NOLA sludge bands.
The group’s self-titled debut rolls out with a nice sludgy down-tuned groove on the appropriately titled, “S&M”. The fight is on and a little blood and a few scrapes is a small price to pay, when these guys ring your bell. Krizner’s voice is edgy and raspy in that smokes too much and drinks a lot of burning whiskey way. One thing that is immediately apparent when listening to FFTP’s debut is they avoid the usual broody melancholy of similar sludge and stoner based bands. They keep it fairly uptempo despite the lyrical content and genre defining groove.
Continuing the metaphor, the band wade into it with “Make Progress, Walk Away.” A nice offbeat groover with some nice hand-clap touches and incredible bass work by McCallough, “You have met your match in me”, cries Krizner.
Next up is the slow rolling grind of “Side Steppin’ Ninja” followed by the worn and fuzzy vibe of “The Lone Gunman”. Krizner gets her aggression roiling on “Eternal Embrace, with its fantastic rolling riff.
One drawback to many stoner-style doom and sludge bands is the penchant for sameness and monotony. FFTP manages to avoid that with a nice variance from track to track, and a healthy dose of catchy melodies, and hooky rhythms.
“Dr. Ugula” is a prime example of how the band expands the genre’s sound with a whoop-ass amount of melody and frenetic guitar work from Sichi.
While the album’s first half is certainly stronger than the latter half, there is a lot to like on this impressive debut. Fist Fight In The Parking Lot is an album and a band that is required listening if you enjoy groove-laden down-tuned rock and roll with a right cross of melody and an uppercut that’ll make your head bang. Check it out, it’s worth a bloody lip and a missing tooth or three. Trust me.