Fist : Thunder in Rock
Category : overlooked
Fist : In the Red
There are at least two bands called Fist. There's the British NWOBHM band, which just happens to be an interesting band as well (I may add a review of their album 'Turn the hell on' to this site one day), but this is the Canadian Fist. Some Europeans may still know them as Myofist, because that's the name they used in Europe when they released 'Thunder in Rock'. I can only guess that they did this to avoid confusion with the British band.
Thunder in Rock
This album combines a sound that's somewhere inbetween classic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, with coarse vocals. Not exactly a recepy for mainstream success but main song writer Ron Chenier had a weird talent for making heavy shit like this sound radio-friendly. Despite the heavy sound (by the standards of the time) and despite those vocals that you'd rather expect in a band like Motörhead the songs are actually deceivingly commercial in nature.
Now, what gives these songs their appeal? First of all, the sound is enhanced by 70's sounding keyboards. They never dominate, but they certainly add to the wide appeal of the music. Then there's the fact that all songs have well written vocal melodies and choruses that are often catchy as hell. Oddly enough, I feel the fact that they didn't use a melodic Hair Metal singer (because with songs like this that could just as easily have been the case) is the finishing touch to make these songs stand out. Of course this feat could only be accomplished because the production is solid (with its smart use of higher pitched backing vocals whenever needed, among others). Given a lesser production, this symbiosis between music and vocals might not have existed at all.
There's no use going over all the songs or to pick out stand out tracks. Everything's at the same high level, as far as I'm concerned. The only superfluous bit of the album is the intro of 'Fleet Street'. It's some sort of radioplay that's only funny the first few times you hear it. After that it just breaks the rhythm of the album. But don't let that stop you from discovering this band. Canadians of course don't need an introduction to one of the best Hard Rock bands to have come from their country, but I'm certain there are still European classic Hard Rock fans out there that have never heard of them. If you are one of them, don't hesitate to go to their website.
In the Red
On their next album, 'In the Red' the vocals are radically different. In came the slick power vocals. Sure enough the overall sound suffered, even though the music hadn't really changed. There's nothing wrong with the vocalist persé. Purely technically speaking he's even better (and more powerful too I guess), but when it comes to personality it was a step down. His voice does work very well on the two standout tracks though, the uptempo Hard Rock song 'When I'm bad I'm better' and the crawling 'Day by Day'.