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Fastway
Fastway
Type: CD
Company: CBS
Release: 1983
Genre: Traditional
Reviewer: Vinaya Saksena
Published: 4/10/2005
An inviting collection of bluesy, hooky, hard rock
I discovered this obscure hard rock curiosity as a high school junior while scouring the school library’s limited but often fascinating CD collection. Upon examining the CD booklet, I noticed that this unknown act included none other than ex-Motorhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke. Intrigued, I checked the CD out and popped it into my Sony once home. What I heard was an inviting collection of bluesy, hooky, hard rock tunes in the grand tradition of Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and Humble Pie (whose drummer, Jerry Shirley, lays down the bruising grooves contained on this album).

And while I find it a gross simplification to compare one great band to another, if such a comparison must be made with Fastway, then Aerosmith is it. Indeed, the Toxic Twins’ influence can be detected to varying degrees throughout the album, “Same Old Song And Dance” being grandly evoked in the snaky riff and more than slightly suggestive lyrics of “Feel Me, Touch Me (Do Anything You Want).”

Elsewhere, we are treated to other rousing invocations of glam, kicking blues-rock, heartfelt, working-class laments of society’s evils, and other dated, but still enjoyable ‘70’s rock traditions. And despite being recorded in 1983, in the midst of new wave and the first stirrings of pop metal, Fastway bears almost no sonic traces of either trend, being relatively rough, low-fi and down to earth.

Anyway, what we have here is a reverent and inviting update on the best traditions of ‘70’s rock, personal favorites being “Say What You Will” and the mellow-then-heavy “Another Day.” All in all, though, the whole album upholds the aforementioned ‘70’s rock traditions beautifully, and aside from a couple of songs being slightly sub-par compositionally, this album is damn close to bell-bottomed, riff-rocking perfection; tasteful, well-executed, but never flashy, and exuding more emotional depth than many other acts in the same genre even bother with.

Note 1: UFO bassist Pete Way co-founded the group with the aforementioned Fast Eddie Clarke (hence the name Fastway), but left to join Ozzy Osbourne’s touring band, only to be fired by Ozzy shortly thereafter. It was only recently that I discovered the identity of the mystery bassist who took Way’s place on this album. Apparently, bass duties were handled by unlisted session player Mickey Fiat, before Charlie McCracken joined as the band’s full-time bassist for their underrated sophomore release All Fired Up.

Note 2: Vocalist Dave King later formed the similarly bluesy, but more modern-sounding Katmandu, who released an excellent self-titled album on Epic in 1991.

About this Writer:
Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: FASTWAY
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
FastwayFastway
1983
Vinaya Saksena4/10/2005


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