Fight for Your Life

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Although you wouldn't know it from their embarrassing depiction in the infamous The Decline of Western Civilization, Pt. 2 rockumentary, Odin were once a relatively well-respected band -- at least by the horrendously vapid standards of L.A.'s mid-'80s hair metal scene. Locked in a deadly struggle between technically advanced trad metal and lowest-common-denominator cock rock, the group wound up choosing the latter to its eventual ruin, but not before recording a body of work subscribing to both trends (sometimes at once) and, in lieu of an actual record deal, being profiled postmortem by 2001's Fight for Your Life collection. Quite the mixed bag, as you'd imagine, it's tellingly when Odin are at their glam-numbskull sleaziest (sub-Ratt-isms like "I Get What I Want" and "I'm Gonna Get You") that they fail most absolutely -- no thanks to vocalist Randy O and his squawking nasal falsetto. His lower registers don't rankle nearly as much, though, and guitarist Jeff Duncan's Eddie Van Halen-inspired histrionics rarely rankle at all. In fact, they take center stage on strongest tracks "12 O'Clock High" and "Love Action," while on the spare acoustic instrumental "Serenade to the Court," it's the influence of the late Randy Rhoads that comes through loud and clear. Another winning tandem, "Modern Day King" and the surprisingly powerful "Stranger Tonight," is built on a combination of acoustic and electric guitars, and even though not much else stands out for recognition, it's worth noting that the requisite power ballad, "She Was the One," isn't nearly as offensive as it could be. In other words, Fight for Your Life could almost (almost!) prove the point that Odin were "too good" to get a record deal during the depths of L.A.'s musically retarded glam metal culture -- but that still doesn't mean this set is likely to please many listeners who didn't actually share those warped tastes in the first place.

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