From the trippy cover art and album title, one might assume this is some kind of fuzzed-out, psychedelic, stoner album. Not so. Lord Fist are firmly entrenched in the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal. These Finnish lads are obviously well-schooled in their Angel Witch, their Diamond Head, their Jaguar, and definitely their Di’Anno era Iron Maiden (in terms of guitars). To be sure, bands like this seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days. But to these ears, Lord Fist are a cut above many of their like-minded contemporaries. The band have a real talent for those classic-sounding uptempo twin guitar melodies, and there are many moments on ‘Green Eyleen’ where I’m reminded of not just those legendary NWoBHM acts, but also the likes of early Wolf and Twisted Tower Dire. That’s a good thing. And vocalist Perttu Koivunen captures that authentic NWoBHM vocal style, while also mixing in a little of his own flair (sounding a bit like the late Tony Taylor (Twisted Tower Dire)) in spots.
Nonetheless, there’s been a bit of backlash to ‘Green Eyleen’ in the Internet world. The production and playing veer toward the raw and the loose, respectively. Depending on your vantage point, that could be either a drawback or a selling point. To me, it’s part of the charm. Bands like Lord Fist shouldn’t sound overly clinical, polished and precise, so this rockin’, recorded-on-the-fly, spontaneous, slightly unrehearsed feel is fine by me. Where ‘Green Eyleen’ shines is in its vibrancy, its urgency, and its unbridled enthusiasm. Lord Fist may not be the most gifted songwriters or musicians in the genre, but damned if it doesn’t sound like they had the time of their lives bashing out these tunes in somebody’s garage or basement. That exuberance is infectious, and makes it really easy for me to overlook the modest shortcomings in ‘Green Eyleen,’ crank it up, and rock out for 37 minutes without a care in the world.
At some point – and sooner rather than later, I think – there’s going to be a day of reckoning for all these younger bands tapping into that glorious early ‘80s classic British metal sound. Trends come and go. Scenes get oversaturated. When the inevitable bloodletting comes, I like Lord Fist’s chances of standing tall and emerging unscathed. Their take on this venerable style comes across as too fun, too heartfelt, and ultimately too unscripted for Lord Fist to get lumped in with the hipsters and the bandwagon-hoppers. Time will tell, I suppose, but for now I’ll keep ‘Green Eyleen’ in heavy rotation. Warts’n’all, it’s still a total adrenalin rush and a helluva lot of fun.
~ Review by Kit Ekman ~