Sound — 9
"Chasing the Dream" continues Skull Fist's style of '80s heavy/power metal, and of course the lead guitars are as copious as their previous album. One can best understand how Skull Fist has progressed in the last few years by listing to the rerecording of "Sign of the Warrior"; both the execution and production are cleaner and clearer than the original recording four years ago.
The songs range from mid to fast tempo. Personally I think Skull Fist plays best at the mid tempo, with "Bad for Good" and "Don't Stop the Fight" being the most outstanding tracks along with "Shred's Not Dead." This instrumental is basically a descendent of "Mr. Scary," and it really helps show how the band, possibly through cohesion with their now stable lineup, has improved their composition skills in the last couple of years.
Overall it's a well written album. The production is mostly good but they left too much of a change on the vocals. Jackie's voice sounds like it was altered compared to previous recordings, kind of like Luna on Holy Grail's first album, but perhaps not to that extreme. The other instruments all sound great though.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics fit the sound of the band; there may be an intended theme of life's experieces. Like any classic metal band of this style there is nothing fancy or complex about the lyrics. And of course there is nothing repulsive about them either. The focus is on the notes and the musical quality of the vocalist is more significant than the content of the lyrics. Jackie Slaughter's vocals have always fit the band's music very well, with high range singing that he will surely regret twenty years from now.
Overall Impression — 8
I consider this album to be slightly worse than their previous one because of the production. The quality and style of the composition is similar and this album is equally worth listening to. But if I were recommending Skull Fist to one who never listened to them before I would suggest "Head of the Pack" before this album.
Beside this minor flaw the album is one of my favorites from 2014 and is a sign that the stabilization of their lineup should bring a strong future. Now is the perfect time to start listening to Skull Fist with their first tour of the United States beginning this week; anyone who likes '80s metal with many guitar solos should consider attending this show.