Although there are moments of Way of the Road, the fourth full-length from Canadian metalheads Skull Fist – where the band show that they might well reach the heights scaled by some of their compatriots, overall this album is content to tank along undemonstratively far too much for it’s own good.
On the plus side, the catchy mid-eighties hard rock of No More Running and Heart of Rio are fine pieces of Canuck steel, somewhat reminiscent of names like Coney Hatch, whilst album closer Stay True and close musical cousin Better Late Than Never both point to a band that has it within it’s grasp to attain metal greatness.
However almost all of the rest of the material passes by almost unnoticed unless you’re concentrating very hard on what’s going on. Like many albums of this ilk there’s nothing appalling on offer, just a lot of distinctly average third division metal which leaves the mind of the listener’s consciousness almost as soon as each tune has ended. Mediocre is never a word I like seeing in reviews, but I’m afraid I can’t think of any better soubriquet to attach to humdrum tracks like Witch Hunt, nice guitar solo notwithstanding.
There is a lot of good metal coming out of Canada at the moment, most notably the Scott Adams-approved Striker, and at this point in time you’d have to say that Skull Fist just don’t measure up to the best that the country has to offer.
The band has been through a fair bit of strife in the last couple of years, so of course I’m willing to cut them a bit of slack, but at the moment this is a frustrating case of what might have been; Still, the evidence here points to the band having a real future if they develop the musical themes outlined in the above song recommendations – let’s hope they do, cos the next album could well be the best metal album Canada has produced in a fair while if so!
Way of the Road will be released through NoiseArt Records on October 26th.