Fugitive: Locked & Loaded (2017)

UK band FUGITIVE have a history that goes back to 1990 from what I understand, although as recording artists I’m not aware of the band releasing any material prior to “In Transit” in 2008, and since then I’m only aware of the album “Black Planet” which appeared in 2015. Come 2017 and Fugitive returns with the EP “Locked & Loaded” on UK label Cat Records, featuring three tracks from their forthcoming album “Reflections”.

As far as EP’s are concerned, I rather get the impression that this one has been assembled to showcase the scope of this band’s repertoire, as the three tracks all are fairly different from one another. Opening cut “Race to the Rain” revolves around a familiar sounding blues based hard rock motif that brings the classic 70’s era to mind, paired off with what I’d describe as a mid 80’s hard rock sound. Second track “Slave to Love” is a tighter and harder edged affair, closing in on mid 80’s hair metal in general style, while the concluding song “Two Hearts” comes across as more of a softer hard rock affair with power ballad tendencies.

The strong points for this band, in my view, are the guitars. The riffs are tight, concise and appealing, the guitar solo runs alternate between the vibrant and the atmospheric laden, depending on the need of the song in question, and most people that find hard rock and the less intense side of metal to be appealing should be charmed by this aspect of the band.

The lead vocals are, if not the opposite, at least much more of an acquired taste. High pitched, dramatic and with a fair bit of vibrato, these are lead vocals of the kind that mainly will appeal to those fond of strong emotions rather than harmony and finer sensibilities in the vocals department. Very much in the vein of the usual metal vocalist style of the 80’s for better or for worse; depending on subjective taste. For my sake this is a vocal style I’m not overly fond of, and as such this has a detrimental effect for me, especially on the concluding song “Two Hearts” which is a creation that relies at times heavily on the vocals to carry the song, so to speak.

Those fond of late 70’s to mid 80’s hard rock and melodic heavy metal should find Fugitive to be a band of general interest. The guitar work in particular holds a good quality, and the songs as such as well developed affairs too. The lead vocals will, in my view, be the deciding factor on whether or not one might enjoy this EP, where those who tend to enjoy the most common melodic metal vocal style of the early 80’s most likely should enjoy the vocals on this one as well.

My rating: 5/10

Track List:
Race to the Rain, Slave to Love, Two Hearts

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