"In The End"

By Dr. Abner Mality

How in hell can this be BYFIST's first album? They've been doing scorching pure metal like this since the 80's and it took until 2020 to get a record out? I cannot believe it! These Texas hellions have unleashed a 100% pure American metal album that will certainly make anybody who respects names like JUDAS PRIEST, HELSTAR, VICIOUS RUMORS and MALICE raise the horns in praise.

"Universal Metal" is the perfect opening salvo in this attack. It's an attack of fast PRIEST-style metal with all guns blazing. Jesus Christ, can Raul Garcia sing! This guy can break glass with his high pitched screams but he's just as effective in the lower register. It's not easy to do this falsetto metal style, I've heard many others fall short lately, but he handles it with ease. He reminds me of another of Texas' favorite sons, James Rivera. The intensity doesn't drop with the title fact, it increases as this cut is a screamer that is fast but just short of thrash. The production here is perfect and the guitar work is stellar. The next two songs keep the headbanging fury coming.

The second half of the album does bring a change as things slow down but stay HEAVY. "With This Needle I Thee Wed" is the longest track and has a bit of a grinding feel to it. "Ship of Illusion" and "Scattered Wits" both open with QUEENSRYCHE-style balladry before getting heavier...the first track picks up with midpaced crunch while the second speeds up brilliantly to thrash intensity in the last third. "Epitaph" is another pure metal scorcher that reminds me of those great Metal Blade "true metal" bands of the 80's...which is the category BYFIST definitely belongs in.

Where have these guys been hiding? This is the best thing I've heard on Pure Steel in a dog's age...kudos to the label for signing the band and catcalls to every other label that passed up on this metal overload.