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Heav-E! - 99%

HeavyMetalManiac77, June 4th, 2011

Heavier Than Metal. That really just says it all, doesn't it? Skull Fist's debut EP is best described as a sheer balls-out over-the-top heavy metal attack decked out in steel and leather and chrome and death. These Canadian heavy metal warriors are 100% everything you'd expect from a band who would've easily sold out stadium gigs across the land 30 years ago. I am completely convinced that they have traveled through time to rid our present wasteland of homosexual nu-metal and revive the cheesy beast we called heavy metal circa '84-ish.

The EP opens with Sign of the Warrior, a ferocious speedy metal number, followed by not-so-speedy-but-equally-as-heavy Heavier Than Metal, an anthem if I've ever heard one. Next up is Blackout, which is in my humble opinion the weakest track on the album. It's just that time change nearing the end of the song that makes me get up to change the song. No big deal though, I mean, the rest of the song is totally sick. Next up is Ride the Beast, which I guarantee will be stuck in your head for months. A totally catchy track with balls that put Godzilla to shame (in that it's ballsier than Godzilla). The album closes with No False Metal, another solid track in it's own right.

I'll make this brief - if you like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept, Scorpions, Angel Witch, Grim Reaper, Running Wild, or any other legendary 80's band, you will completely dig this EP. Go buy it. Now. If you can't stand all these 80's throw-back bands that totally lack any originality, you won't be disappointed in the slightest with this album. Yes, it sounds like an 80's heavy metal album, but it still teems with creativity and heaviness. Like I said, pretty much everyone who calls themselves a metalhead or headbanger needs to own this album. A must-have release, and easily one of the best of 2010. I expect nothing but fantastic things from this band in the future, and after listening to this EP, you will too.

Looking back, that last paragraph wasn't very brief, was it?

Excellent Traditional Metal in the 21st Century - 90%

Xyston, December 31st, 2010

The first time I came across Skull Fist was about 3 years ago, when I was walking through a street in downtown Toronto. Being a devout metalhead and a native of the city, I was immediately excited when I stumbled across a poster on the side of a small club, promoting an upcoming show for local metal bands. Skull Fist's logo (and just the name itself) seemed to be screaming classic heavy metal to me, my greatest love, so I lost no time upon returning home to search them on the internet and find any information about this obscure band.

At the time, Skull Fist had only a couple complete tracks up on their website for listening, and while I enjoyed the rough recording of "Blackout", they just didn't have enough material for me to form a solid opinion on their overall quality as a band. I soon forgot about them, and their lineup changes and extremely underground status made me think that Skull Fist wouldn't really end up doing much - just another bunch of kids playing heavy metal.

Fast forward to 2010, and my buddy starts telling me about how he has recently discovered some great traditional metal - pretty old-school stuff. I ask him who it is, and he says "Skull Fist". The name had certainly stuck in my head, so when he mentioned they had released a kick-ass EP, my interest in this band was instantly reignited. I was surprised to find "Heavier than Metal" on iTunes, and lost no time buying it. And let me tell you, I was very, VERY satisfied with what I bought.

"Heavier than Metal" is primarily in the vein of traditional metal, but there are certainly some power metal elements to be found, as well as dashes of speed/thrash metal here and there. The opening track "Sign of the Warrior" is certainly the most power metal-sounding here, and is an absolutely great way to plunge into this EP, with it's pounding double bass. It's a fast song, and has some excellent guitar harmonies reminiscent of Maiden and Priest, with a chorus that reminded me of some early Blind Guardian and Helloween. Perhaps the thing that hit me the hardest was how great the solos were. Frontman Jackie Slaughter and guitarist Ken Neilson know how to compose some really great lead guitar lines that are both technical and memorable, and the overall compositions of the songs here clearly contain talent and easily surpass some of the more dull bands playing traditional metal nowadays (I'm looking at you, White Wizzard). Next up is the title track, which is one my favourites on this EP, with its fast, chugging riff, badass attitude and lyrics that make you proud to be a metalhead. Once again, the solos are excellent and the song-structure is tight. While Jackie's vocals could use some work, as they're a little too nasally when he sings high at times, they don't harm the music very much at all and are definitely listenable, as I still enjoyed them.

After comes "Blackout", and man, this song has changed since I first remember hearing it! After a nice, brief acoustic guitar intro, the song charges into full power and catches your attention with the main riff's rocky, aggressive swagger. The section following the solos is quite cool and will have you headbanging right up to the start of "Ride the Beast", another of my favourites from this EP. This is a very traditional metal song, and just has everything going for it - riffs that'll be stuck in your head for days, epic Maidenesque harmonies, and soaring vocals. By this point on the EP, you won't be surprised that the solos are again superb. "No False Metal" is an awesome way to close the EP with its thrashy riffs, power metal vibe, and anthemic chorus. This is a song I'd love to throw the all the -core kids into the pit to, since this is one hell of a song that would undoubtedly have every metalhead with a love for the 80s wrecking their necks, going nuts, and initiating a poser-hunt when performed live. Yes, it IS heavy enough for a good pit to get going!

To sum it all up, Skull Fist is an excellent group of young musicians who are clearly talented and have an immense appreciation for heavy metal of the 80s variety - traditional, power, and speed/thrash. They are proud to be playing heavy metal and the point here isn't innovation as much as preservation - that is, preservation of true, classic heavy metal that has been overshadowed for quite some time now by the more extreme spectrum of the metal realm. Though it's a short EP, it's very promising and I am eagerly awaiting Skull Fist's first full-length release. If you love all the legends of traditional metal - and I don't need to name them - you will be very pleased with this new Canadian band!

"The true must keep the spirit alive".

Solidly traditional and surprisingly polished - 85%

failsafeman, September 14th, 2010

In the last few years traditional metal has experienced a revival of sorts, with countless old bands reforming and releasing their first new albums in decades, as well as a surprising number of young kids exploring metal's roots and discovering that some of their dad's music isn't so lame after all. Though Canada sported a fair number of quality traditional metal acts in the 80s (Anvil, Deaf Dealer, Kraken, to name a few), the country was never very well-represented when compared to their southern neighbors or European cousins. In light of that, it's rather strange that today Canada seems to be right at the forefront of the trad revival, with bands like Striker, Evil Survives, and now Skull Fist leading the charge.

Heavier than Metal, with its silly title and album art, might strike the listener at first glance as some kind of ironic, excessively self-referential release from a joke act, perhaps a side-project of members from better-known bands attempting to condescendingly pay homage to their ancestors; luckily, all such trepidations vanish completely upon first listen, like farts in a strong wind. While the trad revival encompasses a surprisingly wide variety of sounds, with influences ranging from USPM to NWOBHM to Running Wild-style speed, the worship on display here has more to do with strictly minor-key heavy metal, perhaps with slight touches of power and thrash in the riffing style. Vocals aside, countrymen Deaf Dealer provide an apt point of reference, the debut album especially. However, Skull Fist tend to speed things up a bit, setting a brisk pace, and the vocals follow suit, sounding like a helium-huffing, sped-up version of a typical slightly-whiny NWOBHM singer (Kevin Heybourne of Angel Witch perhaps). Lots of wailed, drawn-out "ahhhs" and "yeahs" to be had here, if you catch my drift. Not quite outstanding but the vocals are capable and fit the music well. Riffs gallop quite capably within their tradition, while being just inventive enough to interest even this jaded reviewer. Harmony plays a large part in the riff structure, and in "Blackout", the requisite "Egyptian-sounding" song, there's even a delightfully unexpected and well-executed thrash break midway through. Special note must be given to the excellent guitar solos, which are surprisingly technical and fluid coming from a band so young, and while there is a hint of showing off, they know to keep things moving, to the point where I actually found myself wanting to hear more of those solos.

Overall Heavier than Metal is a solid cube of concise heavy metal, like a car put through a compactor and then thrown at your head. Skull Fist didn't waste my time for a second with this EP, and even though they didn't blow my mind right out of the gate, I did enjoy myself a hell of a lot once I got past the silly image to the serious music. Great stuff for headbanging here, folks. I'm very much looking forward to a full-length from these guys. Though doggedly mediocre bands like White Wizzard might be the public face of the trad revival, it's bands like Skull Fist that make it worthwhile.

Kill Em' All meets Restless and Wild - 87%

ChildOfTheDamned77, April 1st, 2010

In 2010, Canada's Skull Fist released this impressive EP, immediately associating themselves with the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal crowd. They play a style of music they describe as "CHARIOTS RIPPIN' THROUGH THE GREAT LAKES!", heavily influenced by Manowar, Iron Maiden, Accept, Judas Priest, and maybe some Motley Crue-esque hair metal for good measure. Needless to say, it makes for some interesting listening

Every band member's performance on the album is perfect. Vocalist Jackie Slaughter's helium-high vocals are reminiscent of Geddy Lee and Vince Neil, but with his own unique style and voice. Every track on the EP lives up to its title. From the pounding Sign of the Warrior to the blistering title track. Blackout, Ride the Beast, and No False Metal continue in that fashion. Basically, if you like one track on the album, you'll no doubt like the other four.

On the down side, the songs aren't very diverse. They all carry on in the same thrashy power-metallic vein of Meliah Rage and early Iron Maiden, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if you're a fan of early Iron Maiden or Meliah Rage or other bands of that nature. However, if you aren't a fan of fast, sufficiently heavy, but somewhat-repetitive music , this EP might not be for you. It's not repetitive to the extent that every song sound identical to the last, it's just that you can't replay this album hundreds of times.

In the end, this album's pretty good. It isn't fantastic, though. In my opinion it shows the band have some serious potential and talent as musicians. However, its just not an instant classic. Keep in mind this is the first official release of a new band; they've got plenty of time to record something that can truly be called a classic, but Heavier Than Metal just falls short of that status.