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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Without A Fight (Album Review), 22 Feb 2009
C. J. Lewis (Shrewsbury, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Not Without A Fight (Audio CD)
Artist: New Found Glory
Title: Not Without A Fight
Type: Full Length
Genre: Rock
Style(s): Pop-Punk/Melodic Hardcore
Released: March 9, 2009.

The sticker on the front of New Found Glory's latest release exclaims, "The undisputed heavyweight champions of pop-punk are back!" That is quite some statement, but after listening to the Florida quintet's sixth studio release you'll have gone a long way towards believing it.

The band is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the release of their debut album Nothing Gold Can Stay (one of the reviewer's favourite ever albums) after emerging during the second wave of the pop-punk movement back in the late nineties. They are one of few who are still active today and seem to be like a fine wine, getting better with age.

Their last full length offering (2006's Coming Home) was a big step forward for the five some, a departure from their spiky and energetic pop-punk and opting for a slowed down and more melodic approach which drew praise from many critics as their most mature material to date.

So is Not Without A Fight further progression? Well yes and no. It seems the band has regressed to progress. It appears to take all of their back catalogue's best bits (The energy of their first two albums, the emotive melody of 2006's Coming Home and the hardcore influenced 2008 EP Tip of The Iceberg) and mashed it all up to make a quite spectacular record.

Mark Hoppus (Blink 182, Plus 44) has done a sterling job with production duties. While it certainly isn't as raw as their classic debut all those years ago, it is not over produced. Gang vocals, choppy and urgent guitars, driving bass lines and tight drumming are the order of the day throughout the 36 minutes of playing time.

There is nothing new about the topics explored here but it doesn't seem to matter when the songs are so good, and while Steve Klein has never been the best lyricist ever it's something that has definitely improved over the years. He wears his heart on his sleeve and that is no different here.

"Tangled Up", "Reasons" and "Heartless At Best" wouldn't have felt out of place on their previous record Coming Home. Everything that made that album so good can be found in these tracks.

"I'll Never Love Again", "47" and "Such A Mess" include strong hardcore influences and come straight out of the rule book for last year's Tip of The Iceberg EP. The latter being a personal highlight. Its hard and fast intro is followed by the anthemic cry's of "I need to pull myself together and let it out!". The gang vocals also prove highly impressive and effective.

Other stand out's include "Truck Stop Blues". This is fast and frantic with a brilliant chorus that will get stuck in your brain and remain there for hours. This is simply vintage NFG and with it clocking in at just 2:16, I'm sure this would please the fans of the Nothing Gold Can Stay and Self-Titled era.

It's hard to pick other highlights because this album is full of good songs; there is no sign of filler material here. "Don't Let This Be The End" is the perfect closer. Instantly relatable lyrics with chunky guitars and a chorus that will have you singing along at the top of your lungs.

When the final lines from Chad Gilbert's guitar fade out on track 12, you will have heard an album that brings everything that's good about pop-punk to the table and deliverers it in mighty fashion. If you're not a fan of this genre, this isn't likely to change your mind but this is somewhat refreshing in a scene that has become so stale of late. If anything is going to bring non cheesy pop-punk back into spotlight then this could be the album that does it.

Is this NFG's best material to date? Well it wouldn't be fair to say so soon. Maybe it will be more apparent as time goes by but things are certainly looking that way.

Not Without A Fight? Well New Found Glory don't really need one, the kings are back!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prog Punk, 4 Sep 2010
This review is from: Not Without A Fight (Audio CD)
if you like NFG youll love this album! There's alot of depth in the guitars and drums. Make sure you buy this album ...and then play it loud!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 30 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Not Without A Fight (Audio CD)
Not to be missed if you are a fan of New Found Glory, so add it to your collection now!
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5.0 out of 5 stars a Brilliant comeback, 13 Oct 2010
Riaan (South Africa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Not Without A Fight (Audio CD)
Wow, Kerrang! Magazine gave this review two K's. Unbelievable. This is a blinder of a comeback - it's a throwback to the NFG we all know and love; ridiculously catchy tunes with punk rock and occasional hardcore screams.

I simply love this album and was grinning all the way through the first listen. Welcome back NFG.
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5.0 out of 5 stars New Found Glory - Not Without A Fight, 16 July 2009
A. Rowlinson (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Not Without A Fight (Audio CD)
For many pop-punk acts that have been around as long as New Found Glory, their glory days passed long ago. They've released their one staple album in the scene and with every album afterward, they seem to get progressively worse. It gets to the point where even fans of the band are begging that they call it quits. However, with New Found Glory, each album is another breath of fresh air in a genre saturated with vocoder and neon. The band's Epitaph Records debut, Not Without a Fight, shows just how well they put their competition in a finishing headlock.

The energy filled-opener "Right Where We Left Off" should bring a sigh of relief to those who were hoping for a "return-to-form" type album. After New Found Glory's last full length, Coming Home, in 2006, many were disappointed at the change from fast, catchy, angsty pop-punk to songs with softer melodies that brought on the feeling of autumn rather than summer. Though on Not Without a Fight, it's clear that New Found Glory still haven't lost their way of creating an album with sing-a-long choruses and memorable guitar riffs that fans will love. The lead single "Listen to Your Friends" carries a "My Friends Over You"-esque hook, while "47" could serve as a Sticks & Stones b-side. "Truck Stop Blues" is the obligatory "on the road" song and "Tangled Up" features subtle guest vocals from Paramore's Hayley Williams. Both songs have a Coming Home feel to it while still being the same old New Found Glory. "I'll Never Love Again" has become one of my favorites and will be pleasing to those who were big on NFG's Tip of the Iceberg EP. "Heartless at Best" is another highlight of the album as it's one of the band's strongest songs to date. Finally, "Don't Let This Be the End" continues the cycle of New Found Glory always having a strong closing song to their records.

Lyrically, Not Without a Fight a bit cheesy at times with lines like "If I can't get to you / I'll never love again" and "Your words break me down like a wrecking ball / I'm so sick of it all." Honestly though, the expectations for lyrics on a New Found Glory record shouldn't be so high in the first place. Although they're ridden with love and relationships, they're still blatant and to the point. What I love about their lyrics are that they're relatable and never try to be something they're not. Too many bands try to come up with deep poetic lyrics that they themselves probably don't even understand, but thankfully that's something New Found Glory avoids.

As far as production goes, they couldn't have enlisted a better man than Blink-182's Mark Hoppus. Although Neal Avron would have been great for the job, he still did exceptional on mixing it. The production certainly isn't as raw as Nothing Gold Can Stay but it's nothing too over-produced; it reminds me of the sound from Self-Titled. Not Without a Fight's production is bound to be nostalgic to those who enjoyed New Found Glory in their high-school days.

All in all, New Found Glory is back in the ring with Not Without a Fight and to say that it packs a punch is an understatement. With this album, there's no need to put up a fight, because New Found Glory takes the title by default.
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