Fastway - Eat Dog Eat (SPV/Steamhammer)

The return of 'Fast' Eddie Clarke!
Release Date: 
13 Nov 2011 - 11:30pm

Fast Eddie Clarke. If you’ve never heard of the man there’s a fair chance you’re reading Metal as Fuck by mistake. Once a key member of lawn-killing metal Godfathers Motorhead, Clarke left that band after becoming disheartened by pretty much everything that went along with being in one of the most influential (and, lets face it, hard living) bands on the planet, initially teaming up with similarly estranged bassist Pete Way of UFO to form Fastway (geddit?!).

Way didn’t last long in the picture, but Fastway did, and the band became briefly huge in the US in the mid eighties on the back of albums such as their self-titled debut and its follow up, All Fired Up. As is often the way things didn’t last, and the nineties and the twenty first century’s opening five years saw Eddie Clarke taking up residence in the ‘where are they now?’ file.

However all that’s changed and Fast Eddie Clarke, with his band, is back. Eat Dog Eat is the outfit’s first set of all-new material in over twenty years. Was it worth the wait? On balance, yes it was.

After opening up with a couple of solidly entertaining rockers, EDE really comes to life with the excellent Leave the Light On. This is primetime Fastway, being a swinging piece of bluesy hard rock that could easily have found a place on either of the band’s first two albums, and you’ll find yourself singing along straight away with its insistent chorus. The only drawback here is the vocal of latterday journeyman vocalist, former of the utterly terrible Little Angels and now one of the vocalists in Dio Disciples, Toby Jepson. Leave the Light On cries out for the impassioned vocals of original ‘Way throatsmith Dave King (now to be found fronting Flogging Molly); Jepson, though the possessor of a decent set of pipes, has nowhere near the power and flair of King, but it’s a great song and if you’ve never heard the original lineup you’ll get unalloyed joy from this track.

The same goes for the utterly magnificent Sick as a Dog. Equipped with an utterly spellbinding riff that could easily have appeared on classic 'Head albums Overkill or Bomber, if you’re of an age to remember such stuff you’ll surely be in agreeance with me in feeling that the only voice suitable to sing this song is Lemmy’s. This is startlingly good stuff, and once again you find yourself grudgingly feeling sorry for Jepson – these songs are just too good for him to sing.

Tobes acquits himself better on the likes of Freedom Song, a straight ahead meat n’potatoes call to arms that swings along nicely on the back of another one of Clarke’s effortlessly classy seventies-flavoured riffs, but to fixate on any perceived shortcomings Jepson may have is to take away from what is a very enjoyable set of songs delivered with panache and flair by one of the most underrated guitarists in the metal pantheon. It’s good to have you back Eddie – here’s to many more Fastway albums…