Skull Fist: ‘Paid In Full’

Released on April 22, 2022 (Skull Fist)

Considered one of the main names of the so-called New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal (NWOTHM), Skull Fist maintain the tradition of releasing an album in the year of the World Cup with Paid In Full, their fourth studio effort.  

As today’s line-up is the same as that of Way of The Road (2018) — founding member Zach Slaughter (vocals, guitar) is joined by bassist Casey Slade and drummer JJ Tartaglia — the sound result would not have been so different from the one already delivered by the trio, so that whoever is a fan will continue to be, and whoever didn’t like it back there will not become an adept this time.  

That said, in a glorious 33 minutes, Skull Fist deliver a true toast to the old-school metallic aesthetic; the musical equivalent of high-top sneakers, skinny jeans and patchwork vests (or riveted leather jackets, depending on the weather outside). The riffs are elemental, accurate, and bring the inevitable feeling of “I’ve heard this before”. The lyrics are preaching to let it loose and not proposing a reflection.  

While older ones call this retro/alienated approach “salvation” — as if rock and metal needed to be “saved” from modernity — younger ones may not understand or accept the “cringe by free choice” style to which Zach and his cronies indulge. But one thing is a fact — within what it proposes to do, the trio is pretty good. As the title of one of the best on the album says: “Long Live the (Skull) Fist”!  

Track List:
01. Paid In Full
02. Long Live The Fist
03. Crush Kill Destroy
04. Blackout
05. Madman
06. For The Last Time
07. Heavier Than Metal
08. Warrior of The North

Band Members:
Zach Schottler – guitar, vocals
Casey Guest – bass
JJ Tartaglia – drums

Mixed by Chris Snow and Eric Rats
Mastered by Harry Hess

Band Websites:
Big Cartel

Reviewed by Marcelo Vieira for Sleaze Roxx from Marcelo Vieira Music, November 2022

Skull Fist‘s “Madman” video: