Genre: Heavy/ Speed
Label: Atomic Fire
Back in 2013, when madness around NWOTHM was in its peak because of some new releases including “Death By Fire” by Enforcer, “Burning Fortune” (2011) by Cauldron, as well as “Head of the Pack” by Skull Fist from Canada, my playlist only consisted of the aforementioned, bands that had slowly started their musical journey to bring heavy metal back from the grave. At the top of my preferences, one could easily find Skull Fist, who up to that date had only released their debut EP “Heavier than Metal” and the aforementioned “Head of the Back”. Zach’s shredding, high pitched vocals and the entire lyrical content about having an attitude, loving skate and longing for an era in which you weren’t even born yet, brought the top at my top 10 of all times. Within their active years, Skull Fist have been through internal, as well as more “public” issues – constant lineup changes, with the highlight being Zach’s own departure temporarily back in 2015 after a successful tour for “Chasing the Dream”, some health issues regarding his vocal chords, some disputes with other bands of the same wave, among others. Through all that shit though, Skull Fist’s vision was always to never look back. Thus, four years after a mediocre “Way of the Road” of 2018, we have the majestic return of the Canadians to discography through Atomic Fire Records. “Paid in Full” has a nostalgic vibe, which travels fans a decade back. Admittedly, the bands that had then appeared and fascinated fans of the genre at major festivals with records that foreshadowed the shift to traditional metal, spandex, bullets and shredded tight jeans with airforce shoes, began to limp significantly. Some of them disappeared, some tried unsuccessfully to record again, some remained consistently good. “Paid In Full” can be compared, musically to “Chasing the Dream” and “Head of the Pack”, while it also includes two re-recordings from the first EP, both for the self titled track and for my personal favorite “Blackout ”. Shredding, nonsense, vocals quite solid, something that shows me that Zach has fully recovered and generally an ode to an adolescence in which, us that were born in the 90’s and listen to heavy metal was all about. To be fair though, after four years of abscence I did not expect to see two re-recordings, but then again, the whole first EP has been re-recorded and released on their first two albums. Anyway, this record instantly climbed to my top 12 of the year and I am finally waiting for Skull Fist to cross our country again with this record in their bag.