With a sound as eclectic as theirs is, it’s always a journey to experience new Fight the Fade music. On their 7th album (their first on the FiXT roster), Apophysitis, Fight the Fade offers both a culmination and an expansion of all the influences they’ve displayed in the past.
Filled to the brim with driven guitars, synth swagger, and emotive expressionism, Apophysitis is an album that leaves listeners on their toes and fires on all cylinders. Whether it’s the borderline metalcore energy of “Buried,” the southern/electronic strut of “Where You Go I Go” and “Monster” or the emotional weight of “Letting Go,” Fight the Fade flexes a range as broad as the Rocky Mountains.
The album title, Apophysitis, is actually a medical term for the inflammation or stress injury to a growth plate (typically in kids). The injury is typically from repeated overuse, like running, jumping or throwing. It’s a fitting metaphor for the theme of this album. Serving as an exploration of how our past influences our present, Apophysitis often highlights the harm that repetitive negative interactions have on people. As such, this is often a bleak album. There are occasions of lyrical dissonance, where the tone of the music doesn’t match the tone of the lyrics (“Lost It All” is a great example of this).
“Monster” is an interesting track that leans into the electronic aspect of Fight the Fade’s repertoire. It is probably the most untempered negative song on the album, admitting to the monster that lives within, suggesting that the “nice” side is the true mask. The blend of the rock and electronic elements perfectly complement the inner dichotomy between the good and the bad.
Another standout track is “Letting Go” (feat. Massie), a ballad that laments the pain while admiting to the way it seems to become an identity. It harkens to Icon For Hire‘s “Get Well” (I and II), as well as “Under the Knife.” “Letting Go” is a desperate plea to be free from the pain while admitting to being hooked on the pain: “I must like the pain, I don’t wanna give it up, I like the taste.”
That desire to be free while acknowledging how addictive it can be is becoming more and more prominent. It’s good to see more bands giving voice to that particular struggle.
For as much cohesion as there is throughout this album, it’s fair to point out one track that feels out of place: “Stratosphere.” It is not a band track by any stretch; it’s catchy, upbeat, and enjoyable. But thematically, it feels like it was pulled from a different album. This is more of a party-rock song than a critique of harsh upbringings or an honest assessment of mental health. Again, not a bad song, but seemingly out of place thematically. It is the only track that stands out this way.
Immediately following is “Cut & Run,” a frenetic and fast-paced rocker that accentuates the urgency of a fork-in-the-road decision. “Revival” is a spark of hope that refuses to give in to the trauma of the past. “Composure” closes out the album with an honest admittance of reality: “Trying to pretend we have composure, but our façade is broken… Just give me some room to catch my breath… As time goes by, you can see the cracks: I’m broken.” This is a fantastic power ballad that lays everything bare.
Apophysitis is as dynamic of an album as the band that produced it. The overall story is one of pain, damage and the desire for change. The honesty and vulnerability of the lyrics is matched (even dissonantly) with the instrumentality throughout. Fight the Fade continues to expand their increasing repertoire of sounds while tightening their grip on who they are.