First point of order: calling yourself Skull Fist and having a album cover with a skeleton on it, you have to be heavier than this. You should be, well, shattering skulls with your fist. Massive slabs of heavy guitar and brutal vocals. You should sound like Nails (who probably never expected to be name-checked in a Skull Fist review).
Once the opening phaser effected into hammer on intro to first track ‘Hour To Live’ quickly establishes this isn’t a D-beat or crust, death or thrash combo and the expectations are reset, Chasing The Dream (NoiseArt) kicks in with its NWOTM (New Wave of Traditional Metal) bang, and Canadians Skull Fist are up and running on their sophomore release.
Straddling the middle ground between the more melodic end new thrash and the rebirth of more traditional metal, Skull Fist come across as the central point between Enforcer and Holy Grail, with a splash of 3 Inches Of Blood in there, too (so maybe 1 inch of blood…). While performing a retro style can be limiting, and lead to negative comparisons to those that strode the Earth before, Skull Fist do have a naïve and endearing charm to them, technically proficient but still performing with energy and undoubted enthusiasm.
Vocalist Jackie Slaughter is a strong performer, at times calling to mind late 80’s Sebastian Bach, at others Don Dokken and Marc Hudson of Dragonforce fame, though without quite the same distinctiveness and x-factor in his helium voice.
Tracks like ‘Bad For Good’ are enjoyable mash-ups of Skid Row and early Def Leppard, the title track calls to mind Dokken, while ‘Call Of The Wild’ brings out the Iron Maiden worship. All in Chasing The Dream is an engaging number that makes you smile and think fondly of it but isn’t one to hang your hat on or fall in love with. Kind of like a relatives pet cat.