|Review: Thrust - Fist Held High|
|Fist Held High|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 1984
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: November 17, 2020
Reviewed by: MetalMike
for:Fist Held High
Rated 4.2/5 (84%) (5 Votes)
Fist Held High is the debut album from Chicago's Thrust, an early Metal Blade signing who first appeared on Metal Massacre IV in 1983, the year before this album was released. I remember buying this on vinyl based on the cover art alone; the head of a mace sporting two leather and studs-clad arms holding the "Ts" of the band name, which doubled as axes. Simple and even cartoonish by today's standards but to these eyes in 1984, this album HAD to be the shit if it had artwork like that. To my ears, however, it wasn't all that great, and I remember actively disliking the songs on Fist Held High, mainly because I felt like singer John Bonata couldn't sing. Over the years, however, my tastes and opinions have changed, and I've grown to really enjoy and appreciate this album.
Let me start by saying there is some absolutely savage riffing on this record and a dirty, mean guitar sound that you just don't hear today. Brian Slagel and Bill Metoyer really knew how to make an album where the band sounded like they were coming for your throat. "Fist Held High", "Overdrive", "Heavier than Hell" and the classic "Posers Will Die!" are pure US metal anthems with just enough melody and catchiness to have you playing the air guitar but nothing approaching the radio-friendly, lighter-waving crud that was already coming out of the West Coast scene and starting to show up on terrestrial radio stations back in the days before the Internet. Sure, Bonata isn't the best singer and is off-key several times (he has an especially hard time holding the chorus on "Freedom Fighter") but also doesn't sound like everyone else, bringing a little uniqueness to Thrust's sound. It's a sound that is all metal but also easy to shout along with, something missing from a lot of today's music.
I'm not saying Fist Held High is a world-changing album or even the best one from Metal Blade (it was released in 1984, the same year as Fates Warning's Night on Brocken, Omen's Battle Cry and Warlord's ...And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun) but it has stood the test of time and, for me, anyway, gotten better with age. The band is once again active and producing solid metal, but this is where it started and if you like traditional metal, especially the early US variety, you should definitely check it out.
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