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Before Stratovarius would go on to become one of the most overrated bands of the 90's, they started out as a scrappy little traditional act that emulated the talent of era the best they could. Unfortunately, the best they could wasn't very good at all. Fright Night is a mostly pathetic, cheap, generic ripoff of everything else that was already falling behind the times in 1989. It mostly just sounds like a garage cover band of Iron Maiden attempting to create their own material for the first time; obvious choruses, repetitve song structures, and pointless solos that seem to be there just to show that Tolkki can do it (sadly for us, no one told him that he couldn't sing). Yep, this is one of those debuts that makes you wonder how the hell a band that started like this could go on to make some great material.
First of all, I normally don't go out of way to criticize the physical product, but look at that cover art. Wow, someone must have spent two minutes looking through a stock folder of crappy free artwork to find that. Then there's the song titles. Three with the word "night"? Future Shock? False Messiah? Darkness?! Anyone should be able to sense that something isn't quite right here. Somehow, the music lives up to the titles. Every minute oozes with mediocrity and boredom. In particular, Tolkki's vocals are completely dismal. Although he would get better all the way up to Kotipelto's debut with the band, he really hadn't learned the ropes by this point. For the entire album he sings in mid-range (but more like no range, if you get my drift), sort of just sneering and talking his way through it. The words he's "singing" aren't exactly golden, either. The ultimate lowlight, the ridiculously overlong title track, contains the most stupefying lyrics of all.
"Feel the night, conceal your fright
It came from your right
Look what you found lying on the ground
Shiny ball you don´t know anything at all"
Other deep concepts explored on this soul-searching journey include witches, night terrors, and apparently, nights that are just so darn black! Of course, I could care less about those downfalls if the actual music around them was good, but that's the thing; it just isn't. Tolkki's guitar playing shamelessly steals Yngwie's at every turn, reaching the peak of ridicule during instrumental "Fire Dance" (didn't Rainbow cover that territory already?) I'm pretty sure there isn't a single original concept, riff, or song present in these bland forty minutes of music here. The only songs I find enjoyable to any degree are "Witch-Hunt" and "Black Night," because at least they aren't afraid to rock out every once in a while. Unless you enjoy boring, generic metal, just take a pass on Fright Night; it isn't worth your time.