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Attacker - Soul Taker 2004 Iron Glory Records Reviewed by EC

Track Listing
1. The End
2. Forgotten
3. Sleepy Hollow
4. Tortured Existence
5. Soul Taker
6. Jack
7. The Conquerors
8. Return To Mordor
9. Raging Fist
10. Until We Meet Again
Let me immediately say that I know nothing about Attacker. In my vast pursuit of everything metal, I have somehow managed to neglect Attacker's so-called treasure "Battle At Helm's Deep". I have also managed to completely ignore its follow-up, "The Second Coming", with both having seen a glorious re-issue a few years back on Sentinel Steel.

With my apparent ignorance and total abandonment of all things Attacker, I started reading some information on an all new Attacker recording to be released in early 2004. After checking out the album cover with its homage to slasher mainstay and English legend Jack The Ripper, and hearing a few song samples, I knew that my Attacker hunt should start with "Soul Taker", the band's third album and first since 1988's "Second Coming".

Hence skipping the Attacker disc or two, I have in fact followed vocalist Bob Mitchell's career periodically, picking up the rare Sleepy Hollow debut along with the recent Vyndykator release as well, absorbing Mitchell's heroic falsetto metal-hood, while deeply admiring the man's extremely above-average aggressive pipes ala King Diamond crossed with Rob Halford, a vocal emphasis that combines Halford's aggressive free-flowing vocal melody with the high peaks that Diamond's over the top howling shrieks create.

So with that said, lets talk about Attacker's newest release, "Soul Taker", an album that has seen some serious exposure in the last few months from German label Iron Glory, Lapland Metal, Sentinel Steel, and one King Fowley. Is the exposure and promotion really necessary? Well considering this is probably going to wind up on my "Best Album Of 2004" ballot, I think so indeed!

This record offers one shellshock after another, from opening stormbringer "The End" to the chilling closer "Until We Meet Again", Attacker have created an album that can compete with any other so-called "album of the millenium". "Soul Taker" hits the highs and lows perfectly, with Bob Mitchell's vocals in full command here, taking charge of the helm in true no-guts, no-glory fashion, dominating the listener in every aspect here. This is simply the best stuff out there, and I mean that with all sincerity. Attacker are the real deal folks and nobody can prove to me right now they can create something this good.

One listen to smashers like "Raging Fist" and "The Conquerors" sets the pace perfectly, driving the listener to break-neck speed, convulsing with the gallop and velocity of heavy, pulverizing riffage courtesy of guitarists Pat Marinelli and Mike Benetados, who provide high-voltage overload while hammering home the fact that Attacker simply ain't misbehaving, instead proving they are out in full assault mode.

Again, Bob Mitchell displays one of the greatest vocal performances I have ever heard on record, fronting a band that maps out intricate harmony and melody in a full gallop version, thrashing and smashing whenever necessary, but keeping a mid-pace, catchy chorus when the time comes. Great breakdowns, soaring solos and precise drum patterns exist throughout, making "Soul Taker" an instant classic from the get-go.

Speed ragers like "Jack", with its dark and evil songwriting, just take complete authority, bringing back the days of old in classic tradition but allowing enough of a modern approach to the arrangement to keep it fresh and new. I adore "Forgotten", with the Maiden bass lines and melodic chorus to keep this one on repeat for days on end. Same can be said for "Tortured Existence", a hell-blazer that just keeps giving hours after the final note. That is the great thing about this album, it sticks with you well after the listen, making your days easier to live while providing a constant soundtrack in your head and in your speakers. To somewhat quote the famous metal publicist Martin Popoff, this record is my "catalyst for rising and carrying on each day."

Attacker display a passion and an all out love for this genre, the classic, traditional heavy metal from the 80s, redefined now in this modern age. Attacker bring a special gift to the metal listeners. Pure talent and mastery of an art that we all love. This band carries the torch for us all and I'm damn proud of them.

Easily one of the best albums I've heard in the past ten years.

--EC 02.10.04



ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Vocals are way too high. My dog's ears hurt from me playing it and I even had headphones on.
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: ATTACKER
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Soul TakerAttacker
2004
Eric Compton2/10/2004
The UnknownAttacker
2006
Eric Compton5/16/2006


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: ATTACKER
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Giants Of CanaanAttacker
2013
Eric Compton3/15/2013


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: ATTACKER
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
Bob MitchellAttackerJosh Greer9/16/2005


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