5/16/2006 - Review by: Eric Compton
Attacker - The Unknown - 2006 - Sentinel Steel
While so many US acts are caught somewhere between makeshift Old Navy glam costumes and the Swedish metal invasion of cookie monster melody, these bad boys of true metal persuasion crank up and play it loud, jarring bones, ears, teeth, and sidewalks through screamin' guitars and vocalist Bob Mitchell's banshee falsetto. At times I'm reminded of early Overkill sirens, with "The Unknown" showing off that blistering pace and raw intensity, only this time having the production values and thunderous sound to pass "Into The Fire" as if it was standing in a Madonna ticket line. Yeah, that's right. I called it. Prove to me one band on the US metal scene that can be this explosive and this powerful on one record. One album of quality songs and craftsmanship. I can't think of any and I've had weeks to think about it as the sounds of "The Unknown" speed into the night.
Attacker's new album is a focused energy, a break-neck speed of sound and mind that erupts into one detonation. With wall shakers like "This Is Power", anyone within hearing distance can't help but headbang and whiplash to the sounds of speedy US power thrash. Mitchell is right on target here, just exploding out of the gate with THIS IS POWER!!! From there the race picks up into "Anger Aggression", a huge mid-tempo chop fest that delivers a wallop of a groove and a booming chorus part. The full moon shines down on "Blessed With This Curse", a riff-train of groove and speed that mixes in those twin guitar melodies of Lizzy and Maiden. From there nothing is left "unknown" as "The Unknown" absolutely explodes into a charging rhythm fit for a king. On this cut specifically I'm reminded of "Raging Fist" from their last effort, "Soul Taker". Following that is "Nail It Down", complete with "Top Gun" riff dynamics and Mitchell's Udo style bite. "I Am Sinn" and "Your Own World" both show off a slightly different side of the group, both cuts razzle and dazzle theatrics and progression, really a unique angle for the band to demonstrate and exhibit. THE metal moment appears with "Devil's War", one of the best song's I've ever heard in my 10+ years of chronicling this crazy world of hard and heavy music. A stirring bass intro slowly picks and prods its way through the two minute opener before blasting into a war scarred wasteland complete with a mammoth groove and furious rhythm work. It is the tension and build-up that is the key to success and Attacker put both to great use, really exploring the atmosphere before lift-off. A re-working of "Brainshake" (lifted from the second album "The Second Coming") is next followed by two bonus cuts in "Tieneblas" and "Fear Of Disgrace".
The album is released on Sentinel Steel Records, who in the past have re-released the band's first two albums ("Battle At Helm's Deep" and "The Second Coming") as well as their 2004 triumphant comeback album "Soul Taker". Since that release the band has added Lou Ciarlo, the same bassist they used on their first two albums. Ciarlo replaces previous bassist Felix Torres. The album was engineered by drummer Mike Sabatini and mixed by both Sabatini and guitarist Mike Benetados. The album as a whole was produced by Attacker and mastered by Alan Douches (Overlorde, Symphony X) at West West Side Music. You can purchase a copy of "The Unknown" through www.sentinelsteel.com or www.theendrecords.com.
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