June 1982 – Review by Geoff Banks – FIST `Back With A Vengeance’ (Neat)

Victims of MCA’s takeover of Neat records a few years ago and never really given the chance to prove themselves they were sent packing and returned to Newcastle and virtual obscurity.

Now back with a new line-up and a fresher approach to their music, Fist seem poised to emerge from the shadow of the Tygers and justify themselves as a band rather than a relic of the North East New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Gone from the old band are bassist John Wylie and singer/guitarist Keith Satchfield with vocalist Glenn Coates, ex-Mythra guitarist John Roach and Canadian bassist Joe ‘Pop’ Appleby taking their place.

Despite the naff cover — someone copping a crack on the jaw from a studded wristband-clad fist the size of a football – the contents, produced by Neat’s new in-house producer Keith Nichol, are far from tacky and should go a long way to re-establishing both Neat and Fist.

Track one, side one ‘Turn The Hell On’ has all the pace and energy of the old Fist but the real difference is Glenn Coates singing. No more of Keith Satchfield’s scrotum-on-a-power-sander growl, this time the band have gone for a, dare I say it, American sound, no doubt influenced, in part at least, by Appleby’s arrival.

‘SS Giro’ is a perfect example of the guitar interplay between Dave Irwin and John Roach – Lizzy-like soloing backed by a straight ‘heads down’ riff. While side two’s opener ‘The Feeling’s Right’ is at times a little ponderous but is ultimately saved by some stunning lead work and the seediest lyrics this side of Ted Nugent. ‘Dog Soldier, however, puts things back on course with Harry Hill’s machine gun drumming and a riff faster than a Harrier jump jet after an Argentinean submarine.

The closing track ‘Going Wild Tonight’ is a real swamp rocker and, despite losing some energy in its vinyl translation, typifies the good-time boogie side of the band. It just manages to finish before the whole thing falls into disarray, proving that despite the overall seriousness of the album Fist, after all their trials and tribulations, still have a sense of humour.

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