Faith or Fear

Picture of Faith or Fear

Punishment Area

Faith or Fear - Punishment Area ©1989 Combat
1. Lack of Motivation
2. CDS
3. Punishment Area
4. Rampage/Nothing Uncommon
5. Have No Fear
6. What Would You Expect
7. Darkside
8. Shadow Knows
9. Ripoffs
10. Time Bomb
11. Instruments of Death

Back in the late 80s, while I was an eager teenage metal fan, I used to make lists of albums I wanted to buy in my school notebooks. This was a far superior activity than listening to a boring algebra lecture. I think the list maxed out at several hundred albums, based on ads I had seen in the various metal magazines and cassettes I had seen in record stores. Faith or Fear of course was on that list since they were a) a thrash metal band and I was quite the fan of the style and b) on Combat records, which had quite a few of my favorite bands. Combat was cool. But for whatever reason, I never did get around to buy Faith or Fear's sole studio effort and as it turns out, that was money wisely saved for some other album.

Faith or Fear presumably got some attention by appearing on the Ultimate Revenge 2 VHS tape, which also featured live performances from Forbidden, Death, Dark Angel and (a bit more laughably) Raven. But whatever promise this band might have held is generally unrealized on Punishment Area. In exploring the thrash genre, I've come to realize that many of these bands fall into "had potential, never achieved success due to songwriting shortcomings" category. Faith or Fear is guilty of stringing together series of riffs and time changes that never even come close to coalescing to memorable songs. Their singer had a limited range, which went right along with their limited ability to write songs that stood apart from one another. As with most bands that fail to excel, you've heard all you need to know about the band in the very first track. There's utterly nothing from that point on that will surprise or otherwise alter your perception of the band. The result is a very mediocre album that trudges along throughout its entire duration.

Faith or Fear broke up in the early 90s without ever recording a second studio album. However, as with many bands of the time period, they've since reformed in the last few years and issued a compilation of various demo tracks and obscurities. I must question exactly what kind of audience they expect now since they hardly garnered any attention back in 1989. Metal nostalgia has its place, but it's too bad when the truly mediocre acts resurface.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2010

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