Skull Fist - Chasing The Dream
10 January 2014

01. Hour To Live
02. Bad For Good
03. Chasing The Dream
04. Call Of The Wild
05. Sign Of The Warrior
06. You're Gonna Pay
07. Don't Stop The Fight
08. Shred's Not Dead
09. Mean Street Rider
10. False Metal [demo] [Japanese bonus]
11. Ride The Beast [demo]

Gee whiz, I thought speed metal was dead - subsumed by thrash on the darker side and power metal on the more glorious side. Evidently, Skull Fist are doing their absolute darndest to prove me wrong.

This Canadian quartet sounds like they took a bunch of Scorpions songs, processed them in a Nitro blender, and poured out the delicious Exciter smoothie into a Helloween goblet. It's clear that Skull Fist owe a lot of their sound to bands like Accept and Racer X, and while they show that they can proficiently reproduce the sound of a late-'80s glam/speed metal band, often the songs sound too imitative. A lot of these riffs you have heard before. Some of the melodies are predictable and lackluster. On top of that, the chord progressions, guitar tone, and backing vocals occasionally sound a bit too Mötley Crüe for my taste. Speed metal is mostly what you'll find here, but they do tend to indulge in some glam sounds here and there.

When I first listened to Chasing The Dream it left a strong impression. The vocals are powerful and entrancing, and the album definitely has a lot of energy. After another couple of spins, however, I became less enthralled; while it starts very strongly with "Hour To Live," still my favorite track, it isn't until four songs later that you hear another truly interesting composition.

On the plus side, this is an enjoyable album overall. "Sign Of The Warrior" and "Hour To Live" feature what would be considered beautiful sing-along choruses, if anyone could actually sing along with Jackie Slaughter. The sky is the limit with this guy (yep, it's a guy), and he isn't afraid to reach. His voice accounts for much of the appeal of Skull Fist. "Mean Street Rider" sports an aft section very reminiscent of "Wake Up Dead" that ends the album on a very high note indeed.

"Hour To Live," "Sign Of The Warrior," and "Mean Street Rider" (coincidentally, the three songs I mentioned above) are the highlights, and they are all excellent songs. Otherwise, Chasing The Dream is fairly derivative, albeit enjoyable. It's an accurate reminder of what speed metal used to be and why it was good.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Band profile: Skull Fist
Album: Chasing The Dream


Written on 15.02.2014 by
Reviewing since 2010. Reviewing competently since 2013. More metal than you since before the dawn of 'istry.
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Comments: 8  
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Boxcar Willy - 16.02.2014 at 19:01  
Damn that name makes me want to like this.
JohnDoe - 16.02.2014 at 20:35  
Great album,catchy and very enjoyable!
Mattybu - 17.02.2014 at 00:21  
Is speed metal (or was it) ever even a genre though... I'm not sure there's a single album that you could solely call speed metal and not just thrash or heavy metal. Nice review at any rate though, sounds like a good listen.
ScreamingSteelUS - 17.02.2014 at 00:36  
Written by deadone on 17.02.2014 at 00:31

As for Speed Metal bing a genre, funny you mention this as I am writing an article on Speed Metal for this website.

I'll be sure to check it out. Speed metal is such a weird label; there doesn't seem to be a uniform opinion about its existence or status, so I'd be interested to see your thoughts.
Troy Killjoy - 17.02.2014 at 04:51  
Came here expecting a new Bleeding Fist album only to realize I didn't remember the name correctly...
Greg L. - 17.02.2014 at 06:10  
This review makes me want to check them out!
Malignar - 20.02.2014 at 23:48  
I really enjoy this album. These guys can really play and the songwriting seems a bit better than their previous release.
IH8Hipsters - 05.03.2014 at 02:20  
They do sound like a sped up scorpions. Which is great because I love the Scorpions. I listened to the whole album on youtube and really like it. Solid and doesn't drag on it's only 36 minutes. 9 songs and all are strong. Lead singer can hit the highs, but has a solid singing voice too.

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