A long-forgotten classic now resurrected by Hells Headbangers (and boy, are they pushing it hard, with vinyl, disc, cassette, digital, and merch to be had!), Denmark’s Witch Cross were overshadowed by the Mercyful Fate/King Diamond juggernaut as far as the early Danish scene goes and gave us this one full-length in 1984 then quickly disappeared shortly thereafter. The album never faded away though and has received much well-deserved fanfare and high marks all this time.
Not quite metal, not quite rock, with a tiny bit of thrash (just check out the last track “Alien Savage” to see what I mean) “Fit For Fight” could have easily been played over the airwaves in the mid-80s if only a major label was shoving it down our throats like they did so much crap at that time. It’s “safe” listening in that sense but still packs plenty of dark and brooding atmosphere to make the Def Leppards, Autographs, and Quiet Riots of the era seem like choir boys. Tracks like “Light of a Torch” have riffage and somber feelings mixing together wonderfully to capture that true 80s metal spirit the way so few could do well. Oh, and don’t dare immediately go for a Fate/Diamond association here simply because of Denmark, as that would be doing the band a grave injustice. Witch Cross are very riff-centric, the vocals are their own unique version of being high without sounding castrated, and it definitely leans more towards a NWOBHM mixed with hard rock sound than a cop out of putting them on the same level as their most obvious countrymen could provide. The catchiness here is just mesmerizing (the incredibly instrumental “Axe Dance” will have you both headbanging and footstomping at the same time, I promise!) and you will entranced by the heavy and bombastic riffing that oozes from this album.
Digging into the vaults and re-releasing old gems with the proper amount of respect is a joy to see as a consumer, and must be an even greater one for the label handling the undertaking. My goodness, Hells Headbangers showed just how much they adore this album by giving it the utmost royal treatment and releasing it on every format you could want and doing a heavy marketing push. It seems the band has reformed too, so let’s see if they can still write songs like they used to! “Fit For Fight” is “fit” for all collections, pun very much intended! (FA)