Sunday, April 8, 2012

Attacker - Battle at Helm's Deep [1985]

Aside from the fact that the image depicted on the album cover looks nothing like a battle at the famed Helm's Deep, Attacker did everything right with this record. "Battle at Helm's Deep" is considered a classic of the genre for the simple reason that it kicks copious amounts of asses in the way that cheesy, over the top US power metal is supposed to. These guys weren't worried about being taken seriously like all of those other wankers who name their band "Lord of the Nazgul" or any other Tolkien creation, they just wrote some catchy music that has stood the test of time, 27 years to be exact. Along with bands like Omen, Griffin, Jag Panzer and the like, the United States power metal scene was one to be recognized as a premier one. 

A lot of the riffage on this record would be considered bland and generic by today's standards, but I shit on today's standards which is why the music on "Battle at Helm's Deep" is that damn good. The opening riffs on "Downfall" are complete and unashamed Judas Priest worship while the riffs on the title track could have been transplanted from "Killers." "The Hermit" and "(Call On) The Attacker" both feature relatively thrashy riffs that aren't too special, but with Bob Mitchell's eccentric vocals and the unbridled energy that is present, there is still plenty of substance, making these tracks that much more memorable. I'd also be a terrible liar if I said that I didn't headbang myself into near brain damage while listening to "Kick Your Face," which features riffs that convey the title perfectly. 

Like a lot of US power metal bands, the vocals here are high-pitched and at times quirky. Mitchell's Halford-like screams aren't as pleasant as the legendary frontman, but they do the trick thanks to a little bit of that energy and fervor that people like Balloff and Blitz had. Another highlight on this album is definitely the soloing. Every solo is fantastic with it's miraculous blend of shredding and melody and they could easily get the listener to whip out their air guitar and solo manically on their imaginary axes. Attacker's real strength is the way in that they play their music with such conviction and menacing precision that they're easily revered by fans, despite their music not possessing the memorability of their counterparts in Omen, or the epic feel of Sanctuary. Still, this is a band that should not be passed up and "Battle at Helm's Deep" is an incredibly fun listen that will have you coming back time and time again. 

"Batlle At Helm's Deep"
"Kick Your Face"
"Dance of the Crazies"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.7/10]