Quartz

Against All Odds

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Following their unsuccessful gambit to latch on, however tenuously, to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal via 1980's surprisingly forceful Stand Up and Fight, Quartz were once again refocused on more traditional '70s hard rock for its follow-up three years later, Against All Odds. In fact, the Boston-like spaceship decorating the album's cover turned out to be no accident once one got an earful of predictable, mid-paced, synthesizer-fueled opener "Just Another Man," which could very well be just another AOR song you've heard from a dozen different AOR acts. New singer Geoff Bate (actually former Quartz member and regular Black Sabbath henchman Geoff Nichols barely in disguise) is certainly party to this mediocrity, lacking the distinctive vocal signature of his longstanding predecessor, Mike Taylor. But, really, all involved should shoulder the blame for carrying on with the Quartz name long beyond its sell-by date -- a fact proven by ensuing legions of faceless slick rockers to follow ("Hard Road," "Tell Me Why," "Avalon," etc.), and only contradicted by very tentative and sporadic shows of guitar force on the likes of "Madman," "(It's) Hell Livin' Without You," and "Love 'Em and Run" (which despite its silly title is, instrumentally, the most interesting, old-school Quartz-sounding track here). In the end, the only song on hand to muster any sort of heavy metal attitude is the comparatively scary-sounding "Buried Alive" (complete with disposable synth intro "The Wake"), but that's because it literally cops its driving chord pattern from Sabbath's "Symptom of the Universe"! But, for all intents and purposes, the vast majority of Against All Odds is very much a collection of fillers, nothing more.

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