Fastway – Trick Or Treat (1986)

Trick Or Treat is the fourth album by British hard-rock band Fastway and was released in November 1986.

Who of you guys out there remembers the (quasi-)horror movie Trick Or Treat that featured rock greats such as Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons? I surely do! Not only was the movie quite entertaining, but the soundtrack underlined why 1986 was one of the most prolific years in the history of rock. Fastway contributed 9 songs to soundtrack and made it album a milestone in hard-rock history.

The album

The album opens with the title-song of the movie, Trick Or Treat – a typical ass-kickin’ 80s hard-rock anthem and simply perfect for the movie.

After Midnight, track 2, is a bit loftier than the opener in regard to musical mood. It reminds me a bit of Ratt, Warrant, or even Winger of the 80s.

The next song, Don’t Stop The Fight, revisits the darker mood of the opener – which I welcome with open arms. Personally, this is one of the best pieces on the album, if not the best one.

Stand Up, is a slower piece – not a ballad, though – with a great laid back feel and rather simplistic guitar riff, but fits perfect in the concept of the album.

Tear Down The Walls, track 5, starts with a rather long intro – approx. 1 minute – and basically consists of solely one sentence, ‘Tear Down The Walls’, which is shouted out in unisono over a 30-second straight-rock part. Not sure if I’d consider it a song; also, I don’t remember where exactly this part was used in the movie. Nonetheless, since this is a soundtrack, we accept this track as a integral part of the soundtrack and needed for completion purposes.

Get Tough is, again, an actual song. The piece mashes the rather darker mood of the opening song with the more lofty mood of After Midnight. It, therefore, build the perfect bridge to the next song.

Hold On To The Night brings a very refreshing twist to the album. The song is characterised by a shuffled beat and a one chord riff in the verse, which then goes over to a melodic chorus. The uptempo beat makes the song very danceable, therefore, definitely a favourite of mine on Trick Or Treat.

Heft, track 8, introduces a more doom- or stoner-rock mood. The voice of singer Dave King is hidden very far in the mix which gives the song a rather original score character. Not necessarily the ultimate rock anthem, but a good song to have playing in the background or when wandering the urban streets of the big city.

The closing song of the album, If You Could See, is the perfect reprise of the opener, Trick Or Treat. Fastway brings the listener back to the willingly depicted dark mood of the movie with dramatic melodies and lyrics, and with dynamic arrangements.

IMHO

I learned about Fastway after having watched the movie. I loved the movie and loved the music even more. A friend pointed me towards the soundtrack and Fastway, and I have been listening to this album for decades now. Even though it only includes 9 tracks, it is a great soundtrack for when I wander the urban streets of our big city.

The lyrics follow a clear concept and so does the music and the production. The album was recorded in the mid-80s, therefore, the production is simply what the possibilities offered back then. Of course, I would wish the sound to have a bit more balls, or the guitar distortion to be a bit more crunchier. Nonetheless, producer ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, who was also guitarist for Fastway, created a great album with Trick Or Treat.

In regard to musicianship, there’s not much to object. The songs all follow what the virtual 80s hard-rock manual would suggest. Maybe, sometimes, a less cliché arrangement or an unexpected break or chord progression would refresh the entire concept, but then, on the other hand, it might digress from the context.

Go out and listen to the album and watch the movie. They are both hidden gems of rock history.

Album grade:
Lyrics 8/10
Musicianship 8/10
Production 7/10
Concept 9/10
Total grade 8/10

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer