Fair Warning: The Box

Some pretty enjoyable melodic rock hokum.

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Fair Warning have a distinctive style. It combines Queen, Uriah Heep and Glenn Hughes-era Black Sabbath. The result is a sumptuous sound, even if sometimes the band are just too precious, failing to loosen up and embrace the music.

Interestingly, this five CD set starts with their third album, 1997’s Go!. Presumably, because the Germans’ first two releases were on an a major label. As it is, Go! is the best of this bunch, as the songs are thrillingly empowered, well produced and feature some outstanding vocals from founder Tommy Heart.

The drama and quality drop a tad for Four and Brother’s Keeper, which come across as if the band are going through the motions; they’re a little dispiriting. Thankfully, Aura restores the pride, with a more streamlined approach in keeping with the modern demands (it was originally released in 2009, after all). Completing the set is 1998’s Live And More, which decently spans the band’s career up to that point.

In some respects, Fair Warning were always an approximation of the sorely ignored Zeno, whose one self-titled album from 1986 is a masterpiece of this genre. But The Box is a good way to catch up with a band who have AOR value.