Skull Fist - Way Of The Road
Noise Art Records
Traditional Metal
9 songs (35:29)
Release year: 2018
Skull Fist, Noise Art Records
Reviewed by Ben

Skull Fist have been kicking around for quite some time now. On first glance it looks like they just recently gained notoriety in the metal scene with the revival of "trad dad" groups in the 2008 - 2012 era and a stellar music video done for Bad For Good that was also included in the semi big (for metal) movie Deathgasm. However, Skull Fist have been releasing demos and gigging since 2006. They have tons of old and hilarious YouTube videos to account for these wild and crazy younger days. There was also a bit of hullabaloo that went on before the making of The Way Of The Road that should be addressed. Vocalist, founder, and guitarist, Jackie Slaughter quit the band for about six weeks before coming back in a weird awkward way. Like he just pissed all over your dad's Indian rug in the lake cabin during a drunken stupor, and the next morning has no idea what he did and meekly apologizes. Then, he also had issues with his vocal cords and had to have surgery. I truly believe this affected him tremendously and it shows on this album. Why is there all this prefacing to Way Of The Road ? Because this album just sounds tired. And that's shocking coming from a band who's built on speed and skateboards and fast food and phone sex.

First off, the speed has been reduced greatly on this album. There are no Ride The Beast type songs, no Hour To Live type madness, and very little Like a Fox-isms. What seems to have happened is that they have been playing a fast, demanding style of speed metal for so long, maybe they got tired of it. They also have a few "arena rock" type songs like Heart Of Rio which while enjoyable, is a bit out of place. However, looking around their peer group, some of them have also taken this approach such as stalwarts Enforcer. My biggest complaint is that the vocals sound a bit hesitant now. Again, I don't know how much the anxiety got to Jackie, or if it's being nervous about singing after the surgery. For what it's worth, the timbre of his voice is still the same, it's just he doesn't seem to "go for it" much.

Just because there aren't many super fast songs like before, this doesn't mean that there isn't anything of merit to be had here. Stay True and No More Running have slow, rising intros before settling into a nice mid tempo groove. Better Late Than Never has a truly excellent instrumental section that I wish was more of the norm on this album. Double guitar harmony guitar solos, wait, triple harmonies? The bass is in there doing harmonies too? Oh snap. An actual fast song is I Am A Slave, but it is pretty bumbly in execution.

Man, I really don't like writing crappy things about Skull Fist. I truly enjoy the hell out of their first two albums but seeing as how I'm so familiar with them, this one definitely doesn't stand up to the standard set by those releases. Maybe it was all the drama or bruhaha that preceded the making of this album. Maybe Jackie is having a quarter life crisis that most thirty year olds go through. He's been living this life for more than ten years now and hell, even the lead guitarist has short hair now! He must be looking for a - a- JOB! You mean you don't get rich after a decade of playing speed metal? This is a far cry from their brash and youthful YouTube video uploads from their demo era. Lastly, maybe they should have released a four song EP before getting back out there again. All I know is that there aren't any straight up killers that the previous two albums were chock full of. Oh well, "it's only rock n roll" or something like that, and here's hoping the band regroups and comes back at us with renewed energy. Wait a minute, here's one more unnecessary "maybe." Maybe next they could do a high energy live album that would prove me wrong? I'd like that.

Killing Songs :
Stay True, Better Late Than Never
Ben quoted 63 / 100
Other albums by Skull Fist that we have reviewed:
Skull Fist - Chasing The Dream reviewed by Ben and quoted 80 / 100
Skull Fist - Head Öf The Pack reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 78 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:28 am
View and Post comments