SKULL FIST Heavy metal chicken fight!

YOU KNOW that feeling you get when you watch the training montages in the Rocky movies? That rush of endorphins that makes you feel like you can accomplish or achieve anything as long as you harness a positive attitude?

Skull Fist's elated metal gives you that feeling.

For some, the term "heavy metal" is still an umbrella for all types of aggressive and angry music. It's dark, it's evil, a bad influence on all those who imbibe its sinful, poisoned nectar on a regular basis. But for all the metal bands singing about misery, destruction, and satanic rituals, there are bands like Toronto's Skull Fist to turn the stereotype on its horned head.

Skull Fist's most recent effort, Chasing the Dream, is on the posi-vibes end of the ideological heavy-metal spectrum. That's not to say the record isn't chockfull of hard-charging, fist-pumping, bang-able riffs and breakneck tempos. But it also boasts an uplifting sound and triumphant melodies. Songs like the title track, "Call of the Wild," and "Don't Stop the Fight" all have messages of staying true and never giving up.

"Honestly, man, we're just pretty happy people for the most part," says guitarist Jonny "Exciter" Nesta. "So it's only natural the music will reflect that. We don't put much thought into trying to sound like this or that, we just play tunes we like. So there's definitely going to be a bunch of personality coming through."

Skull Fist's music proves there's a lot of fun you can squeeze out of heavy metal, and their band photos are in line with that same philosophy. You won't catch them with scowls, snarls, or tough-guy poses. Everything is all smiles and good times.

"We're not trying, it's just how we are," says Nesta. "I've thought that myself many times when I pick up a metal mag now, everyone is pretty damn serious-looking all the time. If you have any type of fun, people seem to think you're a joke band like Steel Panther or something."