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Fist Fight gets music year off to brawling start with CD release

| Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, 9:43 a.m.
Richard Frollini
Pittsburgh's own band Fist Fight in the Parking Lot takes the gloves off its new CD on Saturday night.

The story of Pittsburgh music in 2014 is going to start off with a brawl.

No, there's not going to be some sort of wild free-for-all pitting all of the local musicians “Anchorman” style or anything, though it might be fun watching some of that. Especially if you have rooting interests in who you'd want to see win. Instead, we're getting a nice dose of metallic fun from Fist Fight in the Parking Lot , who are releasing their new EP “Year of the Ox” and will mark its entrance into the world with a release party at Altar Bar Saturday night at 8:30 for a 21-and-over show. Also playing are Black Plastic Caskets, After the Fall, and Lady Beast, who ride high on the wave of NWOBHM glory and are highly recommended as well.

If you're a multi-faceted listener who digs metal, sludge, doom, and even a little '90s-influenced rock, chances are this will be right up your alley. Guitarist/vocalist Abby Krizner (a syndicated DJ you can hear locally on WXDX, and on stations in Cincinnati and Detroit, as well as host of PromoWest Live) is a force to behold, with her powerful vocals that have a hint of grit, making her sound like someone you should not agitate.

Full disclosure: I'm a huge fan of filthy sludge and doom metal, so the tracks that worked best for me are the bookends. Opener “The Ox” is one of the nastiest cuts in the band's arsenal, as it's heavy, punishing, and muddy. It feels like what you might suffer if you really did get scuffed up in a parking lot. Closer “Eunuch in a Tunic” is not as lighthearted as the title might lead you to believe. It's a nine-minute mauler that has its share of melody but also drags your face through the dirt. Krizner's vocals are direct and cutting, while the band keeps a mid-paced tempo behind her until they slip into a doom swagger late in the track, sounding inspired by High on Fire and Electric Wizard. No complaints there.

The middle three tracks could get local radio airplay on a place like The X and give the playlist a breath of fresh air. “Something” sounds custom made for that format, as it's punchy but bouncy, with Krizner poking, “I've been telling you to go home for years.” “Natural Fool” has that '90s rock feel, but not in a retread way. The pace is calculated and the final moments sludge out a bit, giving it added edge. “Horsemouth” might make Pantera fans swoon with its groove thrash and rowdy heaviness, and this could be the track where you catch an elbow to the face during their live show.

“Year of the Ox” is a nice step ahead from their 2012 debut, and they seem to have a lot of sounds they're fully capable of dominating. Perhaps they plan to be a beast with many spots that will keep you guessing as to what they'll do next. They're definitely a bright spot in Pittsburgh rock, and even if you end the night with a black eye, you won't regret that you had such a good time.