BYFIST - In The End

Byfist - In The End

8 songs
46:10 minutes
***** ***
Pure Steel


There is not much to be said about Byfist, even the label info sheet is quite bare. This is the classic case of a band that lets the music do the talking. Byfist from Texas were founded in 1987, soon released a single, followed the next year by an EP, before they disbanded in the early nineties. A decade later they returned, took another ten years to release a compilation, and now in the year 2020, they are finally ready for their debut longplayer In The End. Although only guitarist Nacho Vara remains from the original line-up, the band photo shows that the new members are by no means youngsters. And yet, the album doesn’t sound like an effort of old, weary men. And fortunately, it also doesn’t sound modern, but rather like a relic from the mid to late eighties or even early nineties, made sonically more acceptable with a powerful sound that has all the great trademarks of American power metal.

The opener Universal Metal shows some lyrical parallels to the silliness offered often by Manowar, but Byfist really mean it in a heartfelt way, and their delivery has also more charm. The high vocals remind me occasionally of early Vicious Rumors, the music also shows parallels to classic US metal bands like Armored Saint, early Queensr˙che or Crimson Glory. Apart from the opener, the lyrics all have a rather personal touch and often deal with addiction, as on Unconscious Suicide and With This Needle I Thee Wed. Especially the latter is an eight and a half minute mid-tempo groove thrash metal powerhouse that reminds strongly of Metal Church’s albums with the late David Wayne, who later founded Reverend, of whom guitarist Nacho Vara was once a member in their later days, just like six other former members of Byfist. So there is a very intimate link between those two bands, making it no surprise that In The End ends with a cover version of Reverend’s Scattered Wits.

No one will ever claim In The End to be an originally sounding album, but that was certainly not its intention. Instead we get a kind of US metal that surfaced in the Eighties and displayed a muscular yet melodic attitude that European power metal bands were rarely capable of. For me, Byfist are a glimpse into a past when metal still sounded like it was supposed to be. Maybe I am just feeling nostalgic, but you can’t deny that the impeccable instrumentation, the perfect vocals and the hard hitting production have created a wonderful debut album coming thirty-three years after the band’s inception.

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