METAL HAMMER ALBUM REVIEW: SKULL FIST

31 03 2014

Here’s a reprint of my review of the ace new Skull Fist album that ran in Metal Hammer.

 

SKULL FIST

CHASING THE DREAM

NOISEART RECORDS

New wave of traditional heavy metal types Skull Fist first introduced themselves in 2011 with the brilliant but boldly titled Heavier Than Metal EP and it’s safe to say that over the last three years the quartet have been doing their very best to challenge Wolverine for the title of “Canada’s most metal export.” This month they unveil their second album Chasing The Dream and it sees the Jackie Slaughter-led band step things up a gear as the nine track effort is rammed with great riffs and Godzilla-sized choruses. Unashamedly indebted to the likes of Skid Row, 80s-era Maiden and Accept, Call Of The Wild, Bad For Good and You’re Gonna Pay are particular highlights thanks to some impossibly high vocals, duelling guitar leads and anthemic hooks and only the meandering instrumental Shred’s Not Dead fails to impress. Fun, fast-paced and fresh (despite the classic influences), Skull Fist’s second album packs a considerable punch and showcases a group at the very peak of their powers and ready to conquer the world. [8]

EDWIN McFEE

 

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HOT PRESS ALBUM REVIEW: WINDINGS/LAND LOVERS

28 03 2014

Here’s a reprint of my unedited review of the Windings/Land Lovers split album that ran in Hot Press a few months ago.

 

WINDINGS/LAND LOVERS

Windings/Land Lovers (OOAL/Popical Island)

8/10

Key Track: ‘Spiral Stairs/Matilda’

IRISH BANDS FORM UNBEATABLE TAG TEAM.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcnOtxYvgHo

This issue, Limerick’s Windings and Dublin’s Land Lovers release a special split album via the good people of OOAL Records and Popical Island and, as you might have expected from a team-up that would make Stan Lee himself say “Hold on boys, maybe this is a little too titanic,” the union of two of Ireland’s best and brightest bands and labels has yielded some impressive results. Featuring 11 tracks, the one-off, self-titled opus showcases both bands at their best and in vintage form throughout.

Windings kick off proceedings with four numbers, opening their account with ‘Bladerubber,’ which is a brooding slice of fuzzed up indie rock that has a guitar sound similar to Pinkerton-era Weezer, before really stepping things up a gear with the gorgeous, lonely-hearted, David Gedge-esque ‘Spiral Stairs.’ The sci-fi-tinged, pop punk single ‘Neverwood’ and scuzzy stomper ‘Bang Bang Normal Man’ round off their first new material since the 2012-released I Am Not The Crow in rousing fashion and leave us more than a little eager to get our hands on their next LP, sooner rather than later.

Land Lovers do most of the heavy lifting on the opus, providing seven songs altogether and the tunes on offer prove the quintet haven’t lost their knack for crafting alt pop gems. Highlights include ‘Matilda,’ which has an unforgettable chorus that will have you “Woah-oh-oh-ing” in your sleep and ‘Close Embrace’ which is a shimmering, 50s-indebted sock hop anthem full of snare snaps and sweet calypso guitars, but most of the quintet’s fiendishly catchy contributions are of a typically high standard.

EDWIN McFEE

FEB 28