|Review: Attacker - Soul Taker|
Label: Iron Glory
Year released: 2004
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: April 3, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
16 years after their sophomore effort "The Second Coming", New Jersey's Attacker are back, this time with original singer Bob Mitchell (who only sang on the band's first album.) The thing that'll immediately strike someone who's heard the first two albums is that Attacker's sound has changed quite a bit, while keeping some of their basic elements. Call it a modernised version of the band, if you will. So do not expect a simple rehashing of their first two albums, "Soul Taker" is a whole new ball game. The compositions are more "mature", less in-your-face than on their previous efforts, and I think for most people this is going to be a grower more than an instant love affaire. In fact, the first couple of times I listened to it, I must admit I wasn't really impressed - or more accurately, I wasn't really drawn into it. It took a good number of listens for the music to really sink in, and with that accomplished, I was hooked.
While Attacker's first albums were more of an hybrid of heavy and speed metal, "Soul Taker" adds also a certain power metal element. One would think that this would turn the album into a happy kind of thing, but in fact overall "Soul Taker" has a darker atmosphere to it - maybe Bob's work with Vyndykator is slightly reflected here. The music is mostly fast-paced, with a few quieter moments, such as a very well done part in the title track. There's also a ballad at the end of the album, which in itself is very good but doesn't really do well as an album closer (you'll hear me say that for any metal album. ;)) The vocals are a bit of a cross between what Bob did on the first album and what he did on the Vyndykator debut, plus his vocals on the "quiet" parts will remind some of his work in Alchemy-X. Hell, I could have saved myself some typing by simply saying that anyone who's followed his career will have a good idea of what to expect in the vocals department. :)
So overall, this is a damn good album. I still have a preference for their early work, but "Soul Taker" is gaining more ground after each listen. The band shows progression and maturity while still hovering around their original style. A direct result of this is that it can take some listeners more than a couple of listens to really appreciate what's at play here (this might also explain some of the very negative reviews I've seen - if you don't give it the time, you won't get it.) Welcome back, Attacker.
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