Tracklist1. Fly Trap
2. White Pickett
3. Creepy Kicks
4. Should've Worn Black
5. Shallow Grave
7. I'm Out
8. I Am the Corpse
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What does it mean to be generic? The US Food and Drug Administration defines a generic drug as “a drug product that is comparable to a brand listed drug product in dosage form, strength, route of administration, quality, and performance characteristics, and intended use.” What does that mean, and how does it apply to music? Well, the answer is pretty clear when listening to New Jersey’s own Fight Amp.
Generic pharmaceuticals do not have to be exactly the same as their related brand name; instead they must have a very similar concentration of the main ingredient. Thus, there may some differences in execution, but it’s almost the same. Sludge metal is a very common style for some reason or another in 2012, and the characteristics are quite well known: thick bass lines, atonal (yet somewhat melodic) vocals, and a high number of riffs per minute (at least 10 per minute). Fight Amp adheres to all of the brand-name ideals of sludge metal in today’s music scene. The riff-to-everything-else quotient is quite high; the vocals exhibit nothing close to melody, and the rhythm section is comprised of very hard workers. The bass work on the album is quite close to excellent.
Part of the requirements for the drug concentration for FDA approval is that the generic product must be within 20 percent of the brand name strength to qualify as generic. That is to say some might be stronger than others, which is often the case here. Fight Amp certainly has some solid and almost memorable riffs (see “Fly Trap” and “Creepy Kicks”), but none quite qualifies as an outlier from the standard. They all fall in line with what listeners can expect from any Melvins or Unsane release.
Lastly, generic drugs should be for the same intended use. This is an important characteristic of generic music as well. Fans of metalcore or progressive metal can tolerate the same ol’ stuff when they appreciate the genre, but when a genre is known for emphasizing noise and grit over memorable songwriting, then the chips are stacked against generic releases. That is the case with sludge and doom metal, as both genres prefer to bludgeon the listener with low-end rather than craft intricate songs. As a sludge metal release, Birth Control is certainly not bad, but it fits within the standard deviation for generic. Thus, it is only recommended for fans of the genre.