MyoFist- Round One (1979)

MyoFist is an independent heavy metal band from Ottawa, Canada that have been soldiering on since the late 1970s.  Many metal fans might know this group as simply Fist, but the more famous New Wave of British Heavy Metal band of the same name created so much conflation between the two that the Canadian group added the Myo- prefix for promotion and distribution outside their home country, where they still go by just plain old Fist.  MyoFist’s 1979 debut full-length entitled Round One is more on the hard rock side of things compared to their later more metal outputs, but it stands as of the most unique and interesting hard rock albums of the time period.

Essentially, Round One is a blend of hard rock and funk music, giving it a similar sound to Deep Purple’s 1975 album Come Taste the Band.  It has the bass-driven grooves and funky, danceable rhythms while still remaining heavy and featuring lots of hard rock riffs and guitar solos.  Keyboards with an abundance of electronic-sounding effects are found in abundance, and different band members share lead and backing microphone duties throughout different songs.  One of these singers is Ron Chenier, who would begin to develop his signature raspy singing style on later albums.  However, on First Round, Chenier uses a more clean and traditional singing voice.

The album offers a decent level of variety.  The opener “Too Late” blends a melancholy tale of a disabled person with an upbeat, optimistic vibe and carries a very bittersweet message about the few friends who stick beside someone after a disaster.  “Memories” is another somewhat depressing tale, this time about a breakup that can’t be forgotten.  MyoFist really showcase in this soft ballad their ability to construct a touching song over piano, with tasteful use of synthesizers.  The highlight of most other songs is their long, instrumental bridges where the funk really becomes prominent and the guitar solos become sounding especially creative and perhaps even improvised.

The sound is very thin and lightweight compared of their hard rock peers, making this album a truly relaxing and tranquil piece of music.  Although not as progressive as bands like Rush and Wishbone Ash, the atmosphere bears a lot of similarity and there is a definite overlap in the types of audiences who would find appeal in them.  There is definitely a strong willingness to experiment with the hard rock norms and to break new barriers.

Round One deserves about four-and-a-half stars for its creativity, charm and musical uniqueness. It manages to be catchy but unpredictable at the same time, which is important to this style of music.  However, there are points on the album that are merely average rather than exceptional, such as the repetitive and long track “Anyway You Want.”  While there are no bad moments on the album, the flow isn’t completely perfect, and for most hard rock and metal fans, the ratio of funk to heavy rock is a bit too high on the funk side.  The album could arguably be improved if it were a little bit heavier.

-John Mahon III