When the sun sets on a rough day and you’re in the mood for adrenaline-fueled rock n’ roll, The Final Fight will gladly deliver. This power trio delivers angsty lyrics via gusty riff-driven electric aggression. They’re a high-energy, irony-free rock act that offers both a tight performance and some very exciting compositions.
The trio consists of Oliver Stansell on guitar and vocals, Ryan Brown on bass, and Austin Jones on drums. The group formed in May, 2011, as Stansell was closing shop on his previous band, NetCast. After the old group was officially dissolved, he sent Brown Jones a message to see if they would be interested in forming a band of their own. “I already had the name,” he says. “It’s from a Switchfoot song called ‘The Sound.’ Apparently, it’s some old video game too. I had no idea until like, a year later.”
Songwriting is sufficiently aggressive, and the lyrics are supported by an equally aggressive performance. “I seem to focus on people that piss me off,” explains Stansell. “Anger can produce some great lyrics.” Both “Day by Day” and “Play” center on getting through the rough patches of life and taking things one day at a time. Final Fight also does an admirable cover “Darkest of Kin,” by Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, who originated in Birmingham.
Lyrics are really the dressing of Final Fight’s repertoire. Fans of their live shows understand that head bang riffs and ruthless rhythms are the meat and potatoes. “This is the Life” is a prime example of Stansells’ fire-stoking guitar work, and the introductory riff establishes the band’s bombastic attitude right from the get-go.
“We started out playing generic alternative rock music until we listened to Maylene and the Sons of Disaster,” says Jones. “We now cover everything from rock, blues, metal, sludge, and some progressive rock.” It’s obvious that Final Fight has taken extensive lessons from the old school, but their performance shows a blend of classic metal with more recent influences, even some Birmingham-forged acts.
The Final Fight is a riff-centric band, and Stansell has a wicked playbook of gnarly riffs and fills. “Leading the Blind” and “Man of Science, Man of Faith” demonstrate elaborate metal composition reminiscent of The Big Four, with the addition of modern breakdowns. When he leaps from rhythm to lead, Stansell can make his axe wail, as heard in songs like “Rolling Thunder.”
Brown’s bass lines reach well beyond root notes, as there’s no room for over-simplicity in a true power trio. The bass parts supply a growling bottom end during the slow bits, and stomparound like a juggernaut when the music gets heavy.
The group’s heavier metal tracks require an agile drummer to keep the pace. Jones clearly has a solid handle on the metal tracks and seems to flourish in the intense heat of the demanding genre. He can also whip a sudden transition from breakdown to double time seamlessly.
The Final Fight is preparing to release an EP in the future. “The new EP will be available online and at our shows,” says Jones. The band also intends on having other merch ready soon, including T-shirts. The band is a regular act at The High Note and frequently books through Rockalyptic Entertainment.
You can find The Final Fight on Facebook.
Photo by CT McKay.