Another day, another killer discovery here at A&GS! My friend Jon just sent me the latest SKULL FIST record Chasing the Dream, out now via NoiseArt Records and I can’t stop listening to it. With a sound AND feel rooted deeply in traditional 80’s Heavy Metal, but without turning into some silly knockoff, this band flat-out kills on every one of the nine tracks on this disc. The high-pitched wails of singer/guitarist Jackie Slaughter will quite possibly break every glass in your home, and the rumbling rhythms of bassist Casey Slade and new drummer Chris Steve combined with axe master Jonny Nesta’s white hot solos will have you swearing it’s 1986 and you’re back in your room as a teenager, air-guitaring and headbanging all the live long day!
“Hour to Live” is such a fucking strong opener that if you’re not feeling something 30 seconds in I will have to strongly question our friendship and probably take you out of my will. I’m not kidding, it’s that damn good! The band opts for a more mid-tempo anthemic feel on “Bad For Good”. You know the type of song I mean. The one that when the opening riff hits EVERYBODY’s out of their seat, fists in the air, screaming top of their lungs? Yeah, that. Eerily reminiscent of THE SCORPIONS, vocals aside mind you, this is one that you just have to turn up. The title track “Chasing the Dream” really rings true given what SKULL FIST has been through the last few years with money woes and Slaughter’s skateboarding accident in which he broke his neck. They’re back with a goddamn vengeance and they want the world to know it, Nesta’s solo waving the flag high and clear.
We get a little dual harmony lead action on much of “Call of the Wild” while the rhythm section thumps and gallops all the way through, the riffs chugging along with them step for step. Once again, the solos are top notch and arguably the best on the album. With a title like “Sign of the Warrior” you’d think MANOWAR stopped by to drink, hail and kill, and while the music certainly is heavy enough, this song is clearly all SKULL FIST. You wanna get out of the way of this one, lest ye be trampled. The band takes a page from the JUDAS PRIEST playbook for “You’re Gonna Pay”, and I have to believe if Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing heard this one they’d nod their heads in genuine approval.
“Don’t Stop the Fight” is easily the heaviest song of the nine, and again, it moves fast. I really need to catch this band live to see if they have arms left after playing all of these songs. This is another anthem that’s all about going after what you want and stopping at nothing till you get it. With all that these boys have been through you can see why they’ve adopted this mantra. What’s really cool is the inclusion of an instrumental “Shred’s Not Dead” whose title pretty much says it all. I miss the days when bands would put one of these on their albums, not to show off or showboat, but just to have some fun. You don’t find them that much anymore, so this one is a welcome addition. “Mean Street Rider” takes us home in fine fashion, and even features a mini-solo from Steve plus more of that dual harmony stuff I can never get enough of.
SKULL FIST is definitely one of the more interesting-no, that’s not right. They are one BADASS-MOTHERFUCKING-ASSKICKING band that will blow your goddamn doors off, and then steal your girlfriend while burning your house to the ground. And when it’s all said and done, you’ll probably thank them for it! Chasing the Dream is one hellacious album boys and girls, from start to finish. Get yours now, don’t risk being left out of my will.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM