Retro-Review: ‘Fit to be Tied’ by Aversion

The 1992 album Fit to be Tied  by the band Aversion is probably the best album of that year you’ve never heard of.

Sure, there are a lot of bands that I’ve talked about that may be obscure, but they haven’t been forgotten like Aversion has been.

Fit to be Tied is 33 minutes of that fused thrash metal and punk goodness that people like to call “crossover.”

Aversion formed five years before Fit to be Tied in 1987. Back then, they were a trio, with  then-guitarist Dash pulling double duty as lead vocalist. This first line-up played a few parties and gigs. Christian Fuhrer joined in 1988 and took over vocal duties. Soon after that, they recorded a first demo.

While D.R.I. might be credited with bringing the crossover sound to a bigger audience, it can be said Aversion perfected it.

The songs are short, but memorable. They differ significantly from each other,as opposed to D.R.I. who got pretty formulaic on song writing. Aversion manage to keep the punk vocals and mesh it with musical proficiency and creativity, which in turn led to a pretty wide variety of music.

Their songs are pretty introverted as far as point of view, placing an individual against a society and its demands. It’s a rather lonely album despite its energy, which remains high throughout.

The album

The lineup of Fit to be Tied is Dash (and yes, that’s his name) on guitar and vocals, Fuhrer on vocals, Ed Tartar on bass and Joe Tatar on drums.

Fuhrer sounds very similar to James Hetfield on the early Metallica albums, particularly Kill ‘Em All. He doesn’t quite sing, he doesn’t quite scream but stays at that delicate gray area in between that could easily fall apart. Unlike Metallica, though, Fuhrer’s vocals are up front and center being what the song is based around. He brings a punk attitude, daring the listener to say “you’re wrong” if they disagree.

It’s Dash, though, who brings the wide scope of sound to Aversion. While Fuhrer’s voice and lyrics slap the listener across the face, it’s Dash’s guitar that sucks them in and keeps their attention. His playing ranges from straight-up punk riffs to face shredding solos.

The Tartars help fill out this sound, providing the rhythm that keeps the listener’s head a-banging or their body a-moshing.

Now, to the songs themselves.

When it comes to Fit to be Tied, you’re going to be listening to an album that is full of nothing but good songs at the least. When it’s all good songs on an album, it’s hard to pick standouts, but this being a review, I’m sure as hell going to try.

Beginning the album, you already start with a standout track in the high energy “Hung.” No buildup, no samples, Aversion just jump into things guns blazing. Like all good intros, this gives you a sense of what you’re about to experience, and if you go by “Hung,” you’re about to experience just more than a half hour of shredding and unrelenting songs about resisting society’s expectation. It might be metal in sound, but it’s punk in spirit.

Don’t Wait on Me” is the second song that has that little “umph” to put it above many of the others. This groovy number has a memorable chorus and a groovy guitar, but it’s Ed Tartar’s bass work at the beginning and bridging the different sections of the song that really elevate it.

For me though, if there’s a song that stands out above all the others, it’s definitely “Criminal,” which to this day I still think of as one of the best songs I’ve ever heard (and no one else has).  Tartar’s bass melody is just amazing here and Fuhrer’s pained delivery is simply stirring. It’s a melancholic and hypnotic song that you can’t help but be pulled into. It makes you feel something, that’s for sure.

One thing you’ll notice about this album, the later half seems more metal than the first. “Dry Up, Blow Away” drives that home with its relentlessness. Dash just shreds it here in this song and Ed Tartar tunes the base up to a noticeable later, putting in some dexterous fingerwork.

(S.M.F.) Obligatory Obsolescence follows up with more metal veined goodness. It is almost a youth anthem that probably made many a teenage boy in the 90s pump their fist while alone in their room. This song lyrically sums up the angst of your teenage boy looking in on a society who just won’t get him.

Other tracks worth mentioning is “Let it Go.” That song has a video which I think aired on Headbangers’ Ball on MTV maybe once or twice. Riki Rachtman had nice words for it, but MTV was more about images that sold than quality of music, so you know.

The album also ends with two awesome tracks that which both give each member a chance to shine: “Nothing” and “Vodka Frenzy.” “Vodka Frenzy” ends things by going pure metal. It is fast, with its buzzing guitar and Fuhrer’s speed delivery, which reconnects with the punk side of Aversion.

Now, I didn’t mention it while looking at the songs, but Joe Tartar’s drums act as the glue to this album, grounding the individually powerful parts to a beat, keeping them from floating too far away.

The verdict

If you read the review, you ought to know I recommend this album.

Actually, I don’t just recommend it, but demand that, if you have the cash and have your bills paid and your family fed, you buy Fit to be Tied right away.

Sure, Aversion hasn’t existed in more than 20 years, but it’s never too late to go back and discover for yourself a classic that just didn’t get enough attention back in its day.

 

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