Canadian metal act Skull Fist are one of the leading proponents of the recent Heavy Metal revival. Their latest album “Way of the Road” is a fine slab of 80’s Heavy Metal. The band opted for a organic sound on the album and it complements the songs well.
I spoke to Zach Slaughter about the album, the revival of vinyl, cassettes, and their upcoming European tour with Striker.
Hi guys, you have been working on “Way of the Road” for some time now and have overcome a few obstacles. How does it feel now that the album close to release?
Ughhhhh finally dude. Good feeling to put some of these subjects to rest, out of the brain, onto the album and into the grave yard. I always feel good when that happens haha Now I can start working on the 4th record with no anxiety haha
“Way of the Road” calls to mind 80’s Heavy Metal. Tell us a bit more about the album
I don’t think it’s ever intentional at this point. I just like making music man, the album is just a collection of songs that I’ve written you know? I’m not trying to show anyone anything or be something with this record. I feel like this one is just kind of a more honest approach to how we write, record and present it all. It’s nice to do things like this, to have more of a real sound and etc. I try not to think about it very much though, I find when I start explaining myself I end up just talking in circles ha ha not much thought was put into this album, just did everything entirely based on gut feelings.
“Way of the Road” has an organic sound compared to “Chasing the Dream“. What was the recording process for the album?
pulled back as far as possible. I’ve always sounded like a dead cat and we’ve tried to mask that in the past. This time around I just wanted to see what it was like just letting this crap voice out in its natural way hahaha Ditched most of the reverb and delays. natural drums, I don’t know man. I guess at this point in my life I realized that I don’t want to be anything in particular, I just want to go with my gut.
This is your second release with the same line up. Do you feel it effect on the writing and recording of the album?
Yes. We get along, we never fight. It’s nice to have the confidence in each other and just know that we’re all in this big ol stinky shit together. A good amount of trust going on with directions of songs and etc as well. We brainstorm shit sometimes and everyone seems to have a voice now.
The album is being released by 3 labels – NoiseArt Records (Europe), Napalm Records (North America) and Spiritual Beast records (Asia). How did the deals come about?
This all came from NoiseArt actually. They are not a huge label but they are really good at promoting us I think. Flori is an excellent guy to work with and he’s always working so hard to make everything go well. Thanks dude, you’re killing it!
Way of the Road is being released on vinyl in addition to Cd’s. What are your thoughts on the revival of vinyl and cassettes?
Vinyl of course has a nicer sound. For me I like to listen to music in headphones with my eyes closed though ha ha It’s cool to see those big ol cup holders are still around though? I’ve never been a cassette guy although I should be. My car still has a cassette deck ha ha It’s nice though, everyone has some sort of Niche on how they like to listen to music and the different formats just gives people more choices on how to find their happy place when cranking tunes
You are one of the flag bearers of Canadian Heavy Metal. Which are Canadian bands that our readers should check out?
Striker obviously, Cauldron, they have such a unique sound, they are probably my favourite in all of this new shazam stuff. Midnight Malice was great, Black moor, Villain, Uhhhh man I don’t know haha Triumph is great, The Guess Who, Neil Young, Prism, April Wine, BTO. Check out BTO – “let it ride“, random song check
What’s currently on your playlist?
I spend a lot of time just listening to water sounds in my headphones, usually that’s what I’m doing. I bought some of those big construction soundproofing headphones the other day, so I put in my headphones and then put those overtop. Real nice, no noise whatsoever. Depends on the stress levels or whatever though.
You have performed around the world. What has been your most memorable shows so far?
First gig I ever played was at my high school. I was 16 and we did “Paranoid” and our own original song. I think the first complete song I ever wrote. Not saying that was my favourite but I think about that a lot. There are so many gigs to remember though nowadays. I remember a guy trying to steal my shoe, that was funny. I remember this guy with a broken leg passing me up his crutch and then playing all this slide guitar with it. It was a metal crutch though, like aluminum or something. it sounded awful sliding on my guitar but we laughed a lot together.
Next month is the “Maple Meltdown” European tour with Striker. What are you looking forward to at the shows?
Staying sober, not smoking, staying healthy. Rocking those big ear muffs, living like a monk the whole time since I’m afraid of wrecking my voice again ha ha I’m actually mostly excited to just sit on the bus and read while its driving. I’ve always liked that a shit load. Being at home is chaos lately so I think this will be just a nice time to breath or some shit.
Do you have any shows/tour planned in the coming months?
Yeah, I think we’ll do South America/Mexico in February. USA in spring. Summer time I dunno. maybe some festivals. We will work that all out soon.
Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any final words?
Buy those big construction worker headphones dude. they make music too much cooler without all the stupid background noise.
European Metalheads, catch the band on their tour with Striker on the dates below