Byfist — Adrenalin (2001)

14.05.2002  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Chris Alfano

Over the past year, I’ve embarked on the task of cataloguing my vinyl collection. My traditional method or organization has involved filing each title alphabetically. More recently, I’ve decided to categorize by genre. If you were to look under the heading «80’s Power/Thrash», for instance, you would find such albums as Anthrax’s «Fistful Of Metal», Flotsam and Jetsam’s «Doomsday For The Deceiver», and Fates Warning’s «The Spectre Within». These bands (among others) pioneered a sound that merged strident heaviness with memorable, yet powerful melodies. With that in mind, I was somewhat surprised upon spinning Byfist’s «Adrenalin» EP, because they embrace the aforementioned «power/thrash» style with an obsessive fury. Even the production carries a retrospective flair that will have you squeezing into your sleeveless, patch-ridden denim jacket in no time. Were it not for the near-disappearance of the genre around 1990 or so, my giddiness over this release might not be so profound. But simply put, very few modern bands are attempting anything remotely similar to Byfist’s tuneful, pummeling assault on the senses.

In looking over Byfist’s promo materials, I came across some interesting facts which might help to explain their «retro» leanings. Originally formed in 1987, the group released just one single and a full-length album before disbanding in 1991. I’m not sure when the four songs on this EP were recorded, but it certainly could have been during that time period. Ex-Metal Church vocalist David Wayne gets credit for handling the production, and another 80’s metal legend named Joe Floyd (ex-Warrior) stepped in as engineer. As you might expect, the sound here is purely analog, but that only adds to it’s old-school charm. Many younger fans (and probably a few older ones as well) will dismiss this «Adrenalin» as «hackneyed» or «dated» , but I beg to differ. Acts such as Byfist are filling a much-needed void in the current scene. Exceedingly few bands have the courage to stand by their roots, and for that reason alone, this band deserves your respect.

At present, I’m stuck with the task of describing Byfist’s music to people who were probably not around when the band’s stylistic mentors first invaded our turntables. If you’re not familiar with the bands I’ve already mentioned, you probably won’t be familiar with those that follow, either. However, I’m truly hoping that at least some of you will take the time to get acquainted with these obscure 80’s icons. With that in mind, I must admit that I’m hearing a lot of «vintage era» Metal Blade bands in Byfist’s sound, the first of which is Attacker (check out «Battle At Helm’s Deep» for a power metal album that is actually good… a true rarity, IMO). Secondly, it seems that Omen played a significant role in influencing several cuts (try to get a hold of «The Curse» for a similarly ear-opening experience). Oddly enough, I might even suggest early Overkill as a possible inspiration here and there (the albums «Feel The Fire» and «Taking Over» are a good point of reference — both were released by Megaforce). Admittedly, I will probably have a hard time convincing newer metal fans to give Byfist a chance. Just the same, I sincerely believe that an embracing audience is out there, somewhere. If any part of this review sounds palatable, please check these guys out at http://www.byfist.com.

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