BYFIST from San Antonio, Texas have been active since the mid-80s. You have released a single, several EPs and a compilation album. Now they have their first full-fledged album "In the End" ready and this is being released by the genre specialists at Pure Steel. “In The End” offers classic US Metal with screeching high vocals, which can also be melodic.
So the target group should be clearly defined and we will start straight away with the opener track "Universal Metal". And what kind of melodic board we have to cope with here! Nicely produced old school, the song comes out of the speakers and the chorus is quickly fixed in the mind. I would say a debut made to measure.
The title track "In the End" then playfully picks up the ball and you put a real shovel on it again. Above all, singer Raul Garcia shows very impressively that he has mastered both the very high and the low notes. The boy really has a range that is incredibly awesome!
The song itself is perhaps a bit more epic than the opener and definitely lands on our hit list as well.
The riffs that we hear on the following “Unconscious Suicide” are so US Metal that it will be a real pleasure for fans of this genre to listen to them. Otherwise the song is also far from a failure, so all thumbs up again here.
In the middle section, the two epic and overly long songs “With this Needle I Thee Wed” and “Ship of Illusion” clearly dominate. The latter clearly emerges as the winner here.
Again I have to emphasize fronter Raul, the whole thing is wonderfully expressive, brilliant!
And since the last two songs "Epitaph" and "Scattered Wits" are far from failures, one can say that the boys' debut album was absolutely successful.
"Universal Metal", "In the End", "Unconscious Suicide", "Ship of Illusion" and "Scatterd Wits"
Really great old school US Metal with all its facets. This is what awaits the inclined listener on the debut album of the guys from BYFIST.
Actually, the whole thing is a blueprint for how the genre should sound in 2020 without denying its roots!
Fans should definitely put the album on their shopping list!
BYFIST come from San Antonio, Texas, and despite their existence from 1987 to 1991 and then again since 2000 to this day, they have made it into longplayer honors for the first time; so far there have only been two EPs, a demo and a single plus a compilation each. Well, some bands are not really that releasing anything. BYFIST are, which is not really surprising in the year of their creation, in the field of old-school Power Metal and definitely occupy their niche here. The instrumental faction knows their craft and with Raul Garcia they have a singer on board whose vocal spectrum is primarily in the pleasant mid-high range, but who is also capable of genre-typical screams at the appropriate points. In addition, there is the ability to have good tracks in store with tracks like the up tempo banger “Universal Metal” with its shouts and the hymnic chorus and the mid tempo banger “In The End”, which Headbangers Open Air and Keep It True goers can pay homage to . “Ship Of Illusion” is a bit out of the ordinary, as this track changes to a Rammstein-like guitar rhythm after a ballad-like beginning, which suits the band well in this more modern direction.
Ludwig Lücker awards 8 out of 10 points
Even if 2020 is still a long way from winning a single broken flowerpot, at least as a friend of typical US power metal you can look forward to a real wolf. Not only that VICIOUS RUMORS have released a rock-solid album, HITTMAN are picking up exactly where they left off with their first two records. And then there are now BYFIST from San Antonio around the corner who finally managed to record their first long-lathe after a single and several EPs in more than 30 years of band history. Well, from the original line-up, only guitarist Nacho Vara is on board. But he must have breathed the true spirit of the 80s into his new team, if they didn't already have him. There is no other way to explain why "In The End" sounds as if there is a 1987 and not a 2020 on the calendar. Nah folks, I don't mean that "In The End" is 33 years late. Rather, I want to say: If you're looking for the real deal, the album is exactly your thing. Because US-Metal cannot be better, more uncompromising and more authentic.
BYFIST could have made it easy for themselves by re-recording songs from their previous demos and EPs. Those things flew under the radar anyway and are hard to come by. Even the compilation "Preserving The Past: The Collection" from 2008 was only released on a tiny label. But the fact that only 'Guaranteed Death' has been rejuvenated and the rest consists of new numbers speaks for the spirit of BYFIST. 'Universal Metal' opens the fireworks of great riffs and full steam. And immediately you notice what kind of animal is behind the microphone. Raul Garcia has all the arrows up his sleeve. It doesn't matter whether he shouts powerfully or does the very high screams. The man can do everything. Speaking of high screams. AGENT STEEL was especially responsible for them. And those are also a good starting point if you want to locate "In The End" somewhere. But not only. VICIOUS RUMORS or HELSTAR should also be mentioned. Although BYFIST come across as less "tricky" than the latter. But that's exactly the big plus of "In The End". Another one is definitely that the Texans always manage to let the stick out of the bag 100%. It doesn't matter whether you are grinding through the botany at high speed or slowing down the pace. The best example would be 'With This Needle I Thee Wed'. The song almost comes across as progressive, seems like a mixture of OVERKILL and METAL CHURCH (not only because of the text line "Ton of bricks"). METAL CHURCH may also have acted as the godfather for the strong end to "In The End". Raul Garcia reminds me more than once of the unforgettable David Wayne in 'Scattered Wits'. The structure of the song is also reminiscent of great deeds like 'Watch The Children Pray', even if BYFIST doesn't let the piece end quietly, but at the end again hits a hard board. The already mentioned 'Guaranteed Death' fits seamlessly into the eight songs on "In The End". What easily disturbs the listening pleasure is perhaps the production that is a bit too high-pitched. But there are buttons on the home sytem that you can turn.
What is certain is that BYFIST will release an album with "In The End" that is in no way inferior to the last VICIOUS RUMORS record. I would even say they have easily overtaken VR. Quite simply because BYFIST has the better singer in their ranks in Raul Garcia. If you don't just copy the bands mentioned so far, but cook your own soup, you have a stone in my head anyway. Because of that, and because you can't play hard US Metal better, there's also half a point more than with VICIOUS RUMORS. That makes a total of nine and a half counters. And they are so well deserved.
A strange story involving Byfist, a group from Texas that in the Eighties only managed to release a few singles and a couple of EPs before disappearing into thin air: three decades later we find this "In The End" in our hands , work that shows a band that is far from ready for retirement. Eight pieces full of energy and pathos which, while remaining perfectly anchored within the US metal scene, with quite clear references to Iced Earth and Steel Prophet, often manage to vary register showing a certain versatility and a good balance between power and melody.The departure immediately makes the ears prick up; “Universal Metal” is a stratospheric heavy / power anthem that hits with an exhilarating refrain. Crackling rhythms and the screams of singer Raul Garcia - known as 'Diablo' - ignite the title track while the seventh track that responds to the name of "Epitaph" is more square and granite. It is singular how the band manages to find surprising meeting points, as in the song "With This Needle I Thee Wed", where it seems to meet Metallica of the "Black Album" era with a decisive touch of Fates Warning. Progressive and dark rhythms are often ridden: we find them in fact along the tracklist, for example in the sought after “Scattered Wits”, which alternates evocative arpeggios with electric explosions. The other hit of the record is undoubtedly "Ship Of Illusion", where echoes of Queensryche arrive with decision, thanks to refined vocal lines that move over an elegant and sophisticated sound carpet.At the end of the album the question that arises spontaneously is: "But where have you been in all these years, dear Byfists?" "In The End" demonstrates potential that few other bands are able to put in place. The hope is that this is not swan song, but only a new beginning for the Texan quintet. 7.5