Reviews

ATTACK  "Destinies of War" 

Although it’ll always be a mystery as to what was going on between this release and their previous Return Of The Evil from 1985, with Beastkiller that’s been lost in the past and barely anything is known about its history, Destinies of War is easily Attack at their peak where they really had a grasp at what they were going for, a perfection of their sound and style.

Engaging and very uplifting Attack could be the very band that started this now current Euro-Power metal plague that’s been sweeping the metal world of today. Attack however had what most bands these days lack and that’s charisma and attitude. The pace and everything may be cheesy but at times you can almost feel some kind of magic emitting from these songs. Ricky Van Helden seems to hit his peak with his masterful work on vocals, odd and very cheerful you’ll find yourself engaged with every single chorus here. Melodic and very vibrant Helden’s vocals fit this style perfectly.

There’s definitely a huge emphasis on melodic technique’s and creating a very catchy experience here. The guitarwork could be compared to Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind, though molded in a power metal glove. While there’s a large sum of repetition here, Attack nails this focus perfectly and nothing here is too overdone, abused, or repetitive. Guitarists Gerd Sossnierz and Chreddy Riepert utilize dual harmonies in almost every track while some acoustics appear on various tracks like The Battle´s Lost. The solo work is reminiscent of some NWOBHM bands, as if the guitars start to engage in some kind of fierce battle trying to out due each other. Who can shred the best? The guitars complement each other flawlessly throughout every song. Both the bass (Ricky van Helden) and drums (Zacky Tsoukas) don’t really go above and beyond, but they fit perfectly and complete this great lineup. Production wise, I’ll just simply say it gets two thumbs way up.

The consistency and quality throughout this album seems entirely unstoppable. They completely nailed the track listing as it just seems to keep getting better and better with no signs of dropping until you hit the end of the disc, then you’ll find yourself restarting it all over again. Alright, so there is a weakest link and that’s The Last Surviving Man which does manage to almost ruin the moment as it just feels too traditional and laid back then compared to most tracks. That could be however because it follows after Death Rider, arguably one of Attack’s best songs if not their absolute finest. The equivalent to something Tyrant (US) could have written and Helden’s scream in the middle of it is exhilarating.

Overall this album is very comparable to Helloween’s Keepers which brings me to my biggest question here: Why aren’t these guys still active? It is extremely unfair that these guys aren’t one of the big names out there currently, a band that should rightfully be brought up with names like Gamma Ray, Helloween, Running Wild, and so forth. Of the melodic European power metal genre, this is hands down a classic and something old school Keepers-esque Helloween fans will drool over easily. This gets my certificate at being Attack’s finest release though its not too easy to say that, since Attack has had a pretty damn consistent career (that they did have). Their Revitalize remake / compilation is probably their best release next to this, but overall you can’t go wrong with any of their stuff and this is easily one of their best !

Xeogred (Encyclopaedia Metallum)

ATTACK  "Revitalize"

ATTACK are probably the veteran unknows in L.M.P.´s roster. The evershuffling group, led by constand leader (in a Rock´n Rolf custom) Vocalist / Guitarist / Bassist / Keyboardist / Drummer / Flute player Ricky Van Helden have put out at least foue four discs between 1984 and 1992 : "Seven Years In The Past", "Destinies Of War" , "Return Of The Evil" and "Danger In The Air".

This Revitalize with 15 songs is basically a "best of" , composed of serveral un-released cuts & oldies that have been rerecorded. To put it simply : ATTACK´s music is powerful, speed orientated, melodic Heavy Metal in which instruments as violins, flutes, acoustic guitars & keyboards are used too.

Van Helden is highly influenced by Number Of The Beast / Piece Of Mind / Powerslave-era IRON MAIDEN, and it shows. However, ATTACK have meatier riffs too, very much in a RUNNIUNG WILD style, circa "Branded And Exiled". Van Helden´s voice does sound like Dickinson on occasion, plus Rock´n Rolf in his rougher moments. Rest assured, as Van Helden is a fine singer (amongst other things).

In the melodies department, ATTACK are heading for an old HELLOWEEN..I know Van Helden aspires to have the Hansen / Weikath-type duels with the Iron Maiden/ Running Wild motif.

Judging from Revitalize, he and ATTACK are on their way. I fell for the ATTACK sound on a first go, upon hearing "The Wish To Die" or "Return Of The Warrior". After that, songs like "On The Run" (only Germans can write tunes like this !! Absolutely amazing ! ) , "Dirty Mary" and "Wonderland" made me an instant ATTACK fan.

The lyrics are totally in the fantasy / mystical vein : Warriors, witches, dragons, castles, battles, dark ages, etc. (very refreshing compared to the "whiners" in the  current U.S. scene)

This is not only a "best-of album" because there are also new and unreleased songs like "Way out of Hell", "Heroes die young", "Return of the warrior" and "The wish to die" to hear. My personal favorite of the new songs is "The Time Before" with the amazing middle-part and special outro.

Revitalize shows a cross section of the previous creative period of the band ATTACK, before their next album "The Secret Place" (1995) will appear.

( Denis Gulbey "Sentinel Steel" U.S.A.)

ATTACK  "The Secret Place"

The final longplayer from Attack is a bashing, accomplished set of compositions which serve as a sendoff for one of power metal’s more mysterious multi-instrumentalists and songwriters, Ricky Van Helden. Full of tight rhythms and expert musicianship, this slab of unadulterated power will rock you to hell and back, and then leave you asking the inevitable question: what happened?

Opening with the traditional power rocker Light in the Dark, the CD takes no prisoners from the start. After a brief forlorn keyboard intro, the CD kicks into full gear. What I love about The Secret Place is the production, combined with the perfect marriage of the guitar, bass and drums on every track. Everything is pushed right to the limit, red lights all the way. Athough probably not as loud as newer CDs when played side by side, it sounds to me like the signals were pushed right to the limit of clipping and held there. The effect is interesting, giving the overall sound an overloaded feel. It’s different sounding than today’s slick, perfectly-balanced productions, that’s for sure.

And through it all, Van Helden’s distinctive, European-tinged vocals preside over the top, never generic, never contrived and inaccessible. Sometimes I even detect a sour note  but he’s Van Helden and no one else. He owns this material and it shows. He *IS* Attack. You know this is his baby. In addition, Ricky places various string interludes and touches into the mix. But he always does so tastefully, to add to the power metal, never to overwhelm it.

Let’s progress from the opening track to I Know, a post-apocalpytic Nostradamous-inspired atmospheric rocker that brings to mind scenes of darkness and ash, shrouded in double-bass blasting and more Van Helden magic. The keyboards and strings in this song are extremely well-placed in my opinion, never overbearing but adding the necessary atmosphere in the right places. The breakdown also freaks me out every time. It’s just fantastic, the exact change of pace at the exact perfect time, with Van Helden’s voice trailing off in the background.

Then we hit the true highlinght of The Secret Place, the overwhelming Forgotten Dreams. If you haven’t noticed the uncommonly steady, masterful drumming of Zacky Tsoukas yet, here is where you will no longer be able to ignore what is happening on the back end of the production. Tsoukas drives the pocket throughout the entire CD, but in Forgotten Dreams he stands out, throwing in the perfect double-bass inspired, yet delightfully altered and interesting rhythms in the business. It’s not like he’s trailblazing the art of percussion — but he’s so confidently driving the attitude and tenor of the song, you simply have to tip a cap to the guy. I’d play with Zacky as my drummer any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

I do knock points off The Secret Place for the uneven writing that happens on the latter portions of the disc, but not much. The Prophecy is another tightly woven power tune carrying the theme of upcoming annihilation. Walk Alone falls into the category of power ballad, with a dinstinct European tinge provided via Van Helden’s unique vocal stylings and some interesting flute work. Tsoukata — titled for the band’s fantastic percussionist — is an instrumental interlude played with variance and passion, showcasing some fine classical distorted guitarwork serving to give way to Zacki’s Drum-Solo.

Mortal Energy is more traditional power metal fare — with a very nice pocketed breakdown in the middle. The Warrior hits you with a sly, creeping guitar rhythm giving way to staccacto picking and a cyclical song structure, complete with an anthemic chorus, and another interesting string-laden interlude in the middle that seems to come out of nowhere and disappears just as fast. The outro on this song freaks me out. Fantastic, my goodness. That’s how you do an outro!

And now for that question. What happened to you, Ricky Van Helden? It seems that the man simply decided it was time to move on. Believe it or not, this does happen. Personally, I’m thankful for this little gem, a CD which I never expected to contain anything special, but which has provided some great entertainment through the years with it’s fine craftsmanship and unique sound. Cheers!

Soul schizm (Encyclopaedia Metallum) 

ATTACK  "Seven years in the past"

This is the fifth Attack -album called “Seven Years in the Past” released in 1992 by Iceland Records. Ricky Van Helden , the heart and soul of the band, is doing almost everything in this album ( Vocals, Keyboards, Drums, Bass guitars, acoustic and electric guitars, flute) together with the guitarists, Jens Petersen and Peter Oko he offers us a classic Teutonic metal album.

The album contains 10 songs full of galloping riffs, fantastic solos and of course epic references on the lyrics. The sound is a bit random, but after a while you get used to it. Some interesting intros on songs like “The Fighter“, “Eternal War“, “Never Die” or the all-encompassing killer song “On the run” with the acoustic guitar in the beginning create a fantastic atmosphere while the guitar work is once again at its best.

The compositions are at times mid-tempo while at others at full speed giving a variety and keeping the listener interested. There are tons of very nice melodies, which stick to your brain right away, one catchy tune after the other. Be it “In The Gloom” with its short flute accents, “Hades Of Steel” that starts out balladesque and then grooves out and specially the fast title song, where they incorporated Edvard Grieg’s “Hall Of The Mountain King” theme. A remake of the song “Indian Lady” is also featured in this album as well as a 1-minute drum solo called “Battledrums” and an orchestral song called “The Seventh Year Of The Past“.

The album is damn good and kicks some major arse (at least mine). Where current Melodic bands swamp their songs with keyboards, Attack swing the axe and use the keys only sparsely. Although this CD sounds rougher than its predecessor, but it’s still an interesting album, too. Attack is one of the most underrated bands in the Metal-Scene. At one point Underground Symphony Records wanted to re-release their back catalogue, let’s hope that they’ll manage that still in this life, so as more people will be able to get Attack’s albums in their hands.

(Manilla) "The forgotten Scroll"

ATTACK  "Return of the Evil"

Ricky van Helden continued on his warrior’s journey through the barren wastelands of heavy metal obscurity on Return Of The Evil, his band’s second album.  Attack’s quirky debut Danger In The Air was an interesting curio to say the least.  But with Return Of The Evil, Ricky forged ahead with a more conventional “power metal” sound.  Here, a clear Iron Maiden influence comes to light (though Ricky’s approach was a little more straightforward).  Ricky van Helden crafted songs that weren’t complicated technically, but were played with high energy, and provided a sturdy framework to back his melodic vocal ideas.  Dirty Mary and Warriors In Pain are my personal faves.  The album creates an atmosphere of epic fantasy, of ancient warriors in some quasi-medieval realm.  (Raise your broadswords, all ye warriors of METAL!)  Return Of The Evil was an even better album than Danger In The Air, but Attack’s best work was still on the horizon.  I’m talking about the long-lost gem called Destinies Of War (1989)!  Cheers to you, Ricky van Helden, you magnificent bastard.  My score: A- 

(Spirit of Metal Webzine)

ATTACK  "Warriors of Time"

Jede anständige Band, die etwas auf sich hält, bringt mindestens einmal in ihrer Geschichte ein Best Of Album heraus.
Da macht auch die deutsche 80er Legende „Attack“ keine Ausnahme und vor allem macht diese Compilation im Gegensatz zu manch anderem lieblos zusammengestellten Vermächtnis an vermeintlich bestem Material, welches sich am Ende doch nur als Abzocke herausstellt, hier auf diesem im Jahre 2011 erschienenen Longplayer mal wirklich Sinn, denn wenn man ehrlich ist, sind die bisherigen Veröffentlichungen der Truppe um „Ricky Van Helden“ alles andere als einfach zu bekommen.

Der Richtigkeit halber muss natürlich schon erwähnt werden, dass bereits im Jahre 1994 ein Best Of Eisen der Band mit dem Namen „Revitalize“ auf den Markt kam, doch dies nur am Rande und außerdem ist auch diese Scheibe nicht gerade so mal eben zu erwerben.
Der nächste Pluspunkt für diese Compilation ist ganz klar, dass nämlich so gut wie alle Alben  von „Attack“ durchleuchtet werden und sich nicht wie oft so üblich, auf eine bestimmte Ära bei einem Label konzentrieren.

Somit finden Songs von fast allen  bisher erschienen Werken auf dieser Best Of Platz, was die Songliste auf ganze 16 Stücke hochschraubt.
Darunter sind solche Perlen wie „Danger In The Air“ vom gleichnamigen Debüt, ""Heroes Die Young" von "Beastkiller", „Light In The Dark“  vom genialen Werk „The Secret Place“, sowie „Dirty Mary“ und „Hateful And Damned“ vom nicht minder starken Album „Return Of The Evil“ und auch „Wonderland“, „The Last Surviving Man“ und das überlange „Death Rider“ von „Destinies Of War“ dürfen nicht fehlen und finden so ihr Plätzchen auf „Warriors Of Time“.

Zusätzlich kommt der Hörer auch noch in den Genuss von „The Wish To Die“ und „Return Of The Warrior“ vom Album "Revitalize“.
Meine anfängliche Aussage mit der superben Songauswahl ist also keinesfalls an den Haaren hergezogen und natürlich darf auch das geniale Überwerk „Seven Years In The Past“ nicht vergessen werden. 
Hierfür wurden die Stücke „In The Gloom“, „On The Run“ und der Titelsong auserkoren, um diese Compilation zu vervollständigen.

Für jeden „Attack“ Fan und alle, die es noch werden möchten, also die bestmögliche Anschaffung, um sich mit der Band befassen.
So kann ich als alter „Attack“ Fanatic diese Compilation auch nur wärmstens empfehlen und das wohlgemerkt, ohne mir Gedanken über eine Voreingenommenheit zu machen, denn wer auf lupenreinen Heavy Metal steht und vor allem ein Fan der 80er und 90er Metalszene ist, der kommt an „Attack“ eh nicht vorbei, denn dafür sind ihre damaligen Veröffentlichungen einfach zu essenziell.

All denjenigen, die in ihrem heimischen CD bzw. Plattenregal schon Outputs der Band stehen haben, brauche ich diesbezüglich wohl nichts mehr erzählen und diejenigen werden sicherlich meiner Meinung sein.

Note: 1,5


(Heavy-Metal-Heaven)

ATTACK  "Destinies of War" (Japan-Version)

Why this band has not seen more exposure is completely beyond me. I’m sure there are fans of the band out there, but I have yet to meet one. It amazes me how some bands get record deals and promotion, while Attack isn’t even on the radar screen. If you like Iron Maiden, Gamma Ray, Hammerfall, or ‘Keeper’ era Helloween, this band deserves your attention. I realize those three bands are legends in their own rite. Is Attack really worthy of being compared to those great bands? Absolutely.

Attack deliver twelve tracks of epic power metal that will remind you of each of the three above mentioned bands at any given time. The vocals feature a delivery similar to Land of the Freeera Kai Hansen, but with more range and a richer voice. Rick van Helden’s German accent is quite evident on occasion similar to that of Kai. Above all, Rick has a very melodic voice which only compliments the galloping arrangements on this disc. From start to finish, the guitar riffs are fast and very tight. At times, you feel like you are on the battlefield about to charge into the heat of war with the energy the band creates here. Although the riffs are very fast and intricate, they are also quite melodic, which complemented with Rick’s melodic vocal delivery makes for very catchy songs.

 Oh, Rick also handles bass guitar duties, and does quite a fine job. He is more than able to keep up with the pounding riffs, keeping the overall sound very well balanced on the low end. If you enjoy dual leads and twin guitar solos, you will not be disappointed as the dual axe attack rips and tears all over this disc, very reminiscent of Iron Maiden at times. Don’t skip the instrumental final track of this disc - you will hear some fantastic guitar work. I have not a single complaint regarding the musicianship on this disc. It is top notch.

While the band certainly hits the head on the nail with the straight forward power driven songs, I am also very impressed with the tracks that start off slow, build gradually, then totally blow you away. One standout track, "Blind Man" sees a calm start with an acoustic guitar in the background, then explodes into a furious riff that doesn’t let up. "Death Rider" literally rings in with a loud ominous crash of a bell, backed with an equally ominous acoustic guitar ala Metallica’s Fade to Black, then the anticipation grows with the pluck of the acoustic bass, which in turn gives way to the fury of the dual guitars! Yes! This is not only one of the standout tracks on this disc, but one of my favorite all time tracks as well.

So, if you enjoy a good dose of double bass, dual leads, twin guitar solos, speedy and intricate riffs, and some great melodies, by all means get this disc! Each of the band members are very talented, but more importantly, the chemistry of the band is dead on. The rhythm section keeps the pace moving along to accommodate the ever present speedy riffs, yet stays very melodic. I am blown away each and every time I listen to this CD.

Killing Songs :
Death Rider, Live or Die, Back to Attack, Blind Man, Wonderland, - Put the CD on random, you can’t go wrong!

Mike (In Metal we trust)

ATTACK  "The Secret Place"

The mighty Attack is back with another brilliant album. I never get tired of hearing German metal. It is a form of Metal so flexible, you can add so many diffrent elements (classical, progressive, speed) and make it sound so great. It just gives the band so much leeway without sounding stale.

Take "The Secert Place" for instance, wich is solidly in the old Helloween / Gamma Ray category. They take a bit from J.S. Bach (in "Tsoukata") and turn it into a dipping instrumental filled with catchy riffs and a great drum solo. Magnificent !

Ricky Van Helden is a mastermind with this band. Basically, he is the band, but it doesn´t matter, so is Rolf in Running Wild. This band amaze me more after each and every listen.

"Light in the Dark" is straight forward German metal, while "The Warrior" mixes a little American Manowarmetal, and still further a bit of Hellstar mixed in the song "I Know". Does it matter who the other members are ? Hell yeah ! We have guitarists Thorsten Koehne & Peter Oko and drummer Zacky Tsoukas (recognise the name ?) Bassist and leader Ricky Van Helden is the wonderful voice as well. He sounds indentical to Michael Knoblich formally of Scanner (Ricky would sing "Across the Universe" perfect). This band has it all , pure perfection.

Please do yourself a favor and buy everything from this band ever ( you have your choice : The Secret Place, Revitalize, Destinies of War, Seven years in the past and Return of the Evil).

9 HAILS !

Carl Frederick "Crom Magazine" USA

Attack – “Destinies Of War” (1989)

The reasons I love Destinies Of War are many.  First, this is a true “album” in the sense that it is paced and sequenced for maximum enjoyment when played from start to finish.  The guitar work is excellent.  The duo of Gerd Sossnierz and Chreddy Riepert dish out ripping solos as well as tons of great harmony parts.  While impressive, the guitar playing never gives way to excess.  The same is also true for van Helden’s vocals.  There is a certain restraint to Destinies Of War — a trait not always practiced by eighties metal bands.  Ricky’s singing is never over-the-top, as he opts instead for a tuneful and understated delivery (with a heavy German accent).  There are a few times, however, that van Helden unleashes a ferocious scream.  This feature is used sparingly — but to great effect!

Ricky and Attack produced Destinies Of War themselves.  They did an excellent job of balancing all the instruments while maximizing the power of the big melodic hooks to the fullest.  The background vocals were particularly well-done.  The production has definitely withstood the test of time.

The lyrics of Destinies Of War are fantasy-based.  Each song feeds into the fantasy — creating a mystical and medieval atmosphere.  My interpretation is that Destinies Of War is a loose concept album.  Things start of with the lightning fast Wonderland — a song in the style of Helloween that sets the scene in some far-off utopian land.  However, that tranquility is summarily destroyed in the sequence of songs that follow.  In numbers such as Back To Attack, You’re Not Free, and Live Or Die, evil invaders shatter the peace as they bring war upon the land.  Warriors clash with evil on the battlefield.  Swords and shields collide as the body count mounts.  Attack does an excellent job of mixing up the tempos during this stretch so that each song has its own personality.  They utilize a classic staple of “epic” Euro-power metal — the galloping rhythm — to heighten the story-telling and really draw the listener in to a completely different time and place.  The album reaches its climax on the seventh song — the epic Death Rider.  This nine-minute opus is probably my favorite Attack song of all time!  It builds ominously and slowly, but eventually all hell breaks loose.  This is like Attack’s very own Hallowed Be Thy Name.  Listen for one of van Helden’s mighty screams around the five minute mark.  The mysterious “death riders” decimate the evil but the war has come with a terrible price.  The next two songs, The Last Surviving Man and Destiny Of War are more somber and reflective numbers.  They represent the aftermath of war.  This is where the original vinyl LP (released on ZYX Metallic label) comes to a close, however the CD version adds an extra track called In This Night.  I think In This Night makes for a better ending to the “story”.  Unlike the mournful Destiny Of War, In This Night finishes the album on an optimistic note.

Since its original German release in 1989, Destinies Of War as been re-issued a few times.  In the nineties it was released by van Helden’s own Iceland Records with a different cover.  At the same time Destinies Of War was released in Japan by the Victor label with yet another cover (and two bonus cuts).  In 2016, both Metalizer Records and Canometal Records re-issued Destinies Of War.  I hope these new re-issues will bring some much needed attention to this woefully underappreciated record!

I have been reviewing heavy metal albums from the eighties for several years here at “PLAY IT LOUD!”.  The ones I take the most pride in reviewing are the forgotten gems that have slipped through the cracks of time.  Indeed, the reason I really started “PLAY IT LOUD!” was to document my search for albums and bands such as these.  I feel like I’ve found some great stuff along the way from the likes of Wildfire, Waysted, Trance, Breaker, and of course, Attack.  These are the albums that bring me a lot of pleasure as a collector and fan, though that enjoyment is a little bittersweet because I know that these records never received their just due.  I’ve loved Destinies Of War since I first discovered it several years ago.  Maybe someone else will stumble across this review and listen to Destinies Of War as a result.  My hope is that they’ll find as much enjoyment in it as I have.  It is to albums such as Attack’s Destinies Of War that this site is sincerely dedicated! 

My score: A+

Jeff /  "PLAY IT LOUD!"

(Heavy Metal & Hard Rock 1980-1990)


ATTACK  "Revitalize" (Japan-Version)

ATTACK´s latest album, Revitalize, is another in the solid tradition of great German power metal. The bands mainstay at bass and vocals, Ricky Van Helden, helps deliver a magnificant and solid opus. For those of you who drool at that innate Teutonic blending of thundering speed, sweet melody and compelling choruses that is so far in the United States, the new disc is to be picked up right after GAMMA RAY, RAGE and BLIND GUARDIAN on your list of 1994 albums. ATTACK´s been around on vinyl since Mouse in a Maze, a 7" in 1984 and this is their sixth original studio album. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, nothing of theirs has been available domestically in the U.S.

Revitalize offers driving and triumphant choruses in tunes that just inject themselves instandly into your heart and mind, complemented by a rapid fire rhythm in deadly precision. Musically, it reminds me alternately of some of  IRON MAIDEN, the faster and more melodic RUNNING WILD moments and early HELLOWEEN. But overall it has its own unique version of the German metal sound.

Gerd Sossnierz and Matthias Hornschuh deliver a razor sharp, rapid volley of melodic and incisive riffs, complemented the generally thunderous yet crisp rhythm section (the drummer is Zacky Tsoukas). Ricky Van Helden´s vocals are reminiscent of a combination of early Kai Hansen and Rolf Kasparek, clear and melodious and yet reaching upwards with a lot of emotions. "Return of the Warrior" and "The wish to die" are my favorites  off this  album, dazzling  examples of songs that are simply magic in the way  they ascent into your senses and one of the fastest  work on the album. In their own way all the songs are memorable and well written with a nice blend of aggression and melody.

This collection did not disappoint, bringing together more of that incredible quality of speed with elegance, melody with strength and conviction and heart enmeshed in the lyrics. I fact, it seems to have a bit more prominence of speed then the latest album and I think I might enjoy this compilation even more. But with a band like this, they are so staunch in their faith that you know yout feeleings from album to album probably won´t vary tremendously. What is it about the American psyche that resists music with grandeur, nobility and graceful power ? It´s a shame and I hope things can get turned around  where true metal like this does have an opportunity to at least reach an audience and such materil is available in record stores. When I hear a compilation like this, I just hear so much majesty, where burning speed and welcoming strains intersect.

I received the Japanese version, which included the lyrics and included 12 tracks and over 60 minutes...I understand the European version includes three extra songs. I have yet to hear the discs from which this compilation was taken, but I would wager both the compilation and the previous discs by the band wouold be well worth picking up, especially at Iceland´s reasonable import prices. Another incredible album by a band that´s been producing such work staunchly for years. If you are a fan of the genre, or of good solid metal in general, try to picking this disc up from Iceland Records, or Empire.

Craig Wisnom "Ascendant Strains" USA

ATTACK  "The Secret Place" (Europe)

Superlativo ! Direttamente dalla grande famiglia Limb Schnoor (Angra, Eldritch...) ecco irrompere queste sottovalutati veterani della scena tedesca, autori di uno degli albums più piacevoli che mi sia capitato di ascoltare  in questo 1995. Il sound del gruppo di avvicina all´ormai inconfondibile marchio di fabbrica che contraddistinque buona parte delle speed/power bands tedesche, ma i nostri non si limitano a scopiazzare qua e là nel repertorio dei nomi più famosi, mostrando eccellenti intuizioni compositive ed inserendo parecchi elementi classico-orechestrali.

Alla fine, un paragone plausibile può esser quello con i grandi nordici Stratovarius. L´unico appunto che possiamo muovere all´opera in questione riguarda la produzione un attimo confusa, ma tutto ciò non impoverisce i contenuti dell´album. Si parte con un maestoso intro di tastiere, preludio all´ottima "Light In The Dark", brano sorretto da vibranti ritmiche thrashy e impreziosito da un refrain orecciabile ma anche molto potente, mentre la successiva "I Know", si fa appprezzare soprattutto per le splendide aperture melodiche che spezzano un contesto decisamente heavy.

Suggestive si manifestano le atmosfere di "Forgotten Dreams", brano assai ben organizzato, quindi la speedy "The Prophecy" si avvicina molto agli standard di Angra e vecchi Viper, in primis nelle linee vocali. Altrettanto buoni il malinconnico lento "Walk Alone" e I´heavy power di "Mortal Energy", perfetto trampolino di lancio per la strumentale "Tsoukata", ovvero la rilettura  della celebre "Toccata e Fuga" in re-minore di J.S. Bach (peccato che de brano ecceda in lunghezza). Dopo il midtempo "Heroes Die Young"  e I´altro strumentale "Warp Speed Now", arriva in chiusura la top-song del disco, ossia "The Warrior", nella quale riassaporiamo i primissimi Helloween ed una melodia vocale tra le plù belle che siano state concepite negli ultimi tempi. Album imperdibile per ogni defenders che si rispetti !

"Flash Magazine" (Italy)

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ATTACK  "The Secret Place"

Harmonische Gesänge wiegen dich für einen Augenblick in Sicherheit, doch schon im nächsten Moment holen dich die Bass Drum-Gewitter mit ihren gnadenlosen Achteltriolen in die Wirklichkeit zurück. Doch "I Know" ist nicht die einzige Nummer, die Überraschendes in das neue "ATTACK"-Programm einbringt. Flötentöne und Cello sind diesen melodisch veranlagten Speed- Metallern nicht fremd, die ursprünglich aus Hannover stammen, heute jedoch in Bielefeld ansässig sind.

 Zahlreiche Alben säumen den  Weg der 1984 von Ricky van Helden gegründeten Band, die nicht nur die symtomatischen Metall-Erfolge in Japan melden kann, sondern auch beste Reputationen in Australien genießt. "The Secret Place" wird das Ansehen der Band nicht schmälern - ganz im Gegenteil. Denn dieses Album kennzeichnet bei aller Stiltreue doch einen weiteren wichtigen Entwicklungsschritt. Anspielwarnung : Ab zwei Promille ist zu befürchten, daß wenigstens das geschwindigkeitsrekordverdächtige Outro "Warp speed, now !" zu heftigen Schwindelanfällen führt. 

"EXTRA DRY"-Magazine (Germany)

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ATTACK  "The Secret Place"

This band has been around the mid-eighties and it looks like their newest album will force a major breakthrough now that the classic Power-Metal sound has re-entered the scene. Smart thing the band did, blending the Euro-Power-Metal roots with the sound  of the 90´s by adding some heavy style riffage with a matching feedback and plenty of productional bottom-end punch.

ATTACK is stickered as a "melodic Power-Metal act" which is a pretty accurate description with the understanding that one is equally on the verge of melodic Speed Metal  with the usual amount of German mould Rock Ballades to compensate. Songs have direct  access, most of which is accomplished by the usage of  catchy rhythmics in combination with cheerful vocal (chants) and a preferable, double bass-drummed drive.

Vocals are melodic, variable pitched but mainly semi-upper range toned, kinda like a lower pitched Helloween, a comparison that also applies to the faster paced workouts. Instrumentation is proficient and classical tinged, highlighted in the  pacy instrumental "Warp Speed, Now!"

"Aardschok" (Netherlands) 

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ATTACK  "The Secret Place"

Seit mehr als zehn Jahren ist die deutsche Gruppe ATTACK mit ihrem "Mystik-Power-Speed" am Start. Das jetzt erschienene siebente Album "The Secret Place" schäumt vor unbändiger Spielfreude der vier Musiker über. Mit dem Multi-talent Ricky van Helden, der Gesang, Bass, akustische Gitarre, Flöte, und Keyboards beisteuert und zusätzlichen Geigen- und Cello-Arrangements ergibt sich  ein überaus facettenreicher Sound.

ATTACK bevorzugen einen powervollen, melodiebetonten Speed, der in "The Prophecy"  kurzzeitig an Helloween erinnert, aber ansonsten durch verhaltene, sogar doomige Abschnitte mit den genannten "metalfremden" Instrumenten jene mystische Komponente einbringt, die der Musik einen unverwechselbaren Stempel aufdrückt. Eine Besonderheit des Albums ist "Tsoukata", ein Stück, das mit dem Thema der Bach´schen Orgel-Toccata beginnt (und auch schließt), dann aber in ein Solo des Drummers Zacky Tsoukas mündet- daher der Titel ! Die gesamte, dreiviertelstündige Scheibe mit ihren zehn Songs ist einfach saugut und gipfelt im ultraschnellen Instrumental "Warp Speed, Now!" mit Barockmusik-Einfluß.

"Break Out"-Magazine (Germany)

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ATTACK  "The Secret Place"

ATTACK fut formé en 1984 sur la terre de SCORPIONS : Hannover ! Complétement en dehors d´une quelcoque mode. ATTACK vient de sortir son septiéme album ! "The Secret Place" n´a pas évolué par rapport aux précédents albums, ils  se sont contenté de grossir un son parfois brouillon et de "grandir" musicalement.

Le résultat est  excellent en pratiquant un style qu´HELLOWEEN ou STRATOVARIUS ne renieralent pas ! Le centre de tout cela, c´est RICKY VAN HELDEN qui s´occupe de la basse, de la guitare accoustique, des claviers, d´une flúte qu´ll manie comme un chef et...ll chante également. Un véritable homme orchestre donc et c´est de cela que ATTACK avait besoin.

Une confirmation pour certains, une découverte pour moi !    9,5/10

"Fox Metal" -Magazine (Belgium)

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ATTACK  "The Secret Place"

Deze Duitse groep bestaat al sinds 1984 en met deze CD zijn ze alweer aan hun zevende werkstukje toe. Belangrijkste man binnen deze band is ongetwijfeld zanger/bassist Ricky van Helden, die zich verder ook nog bezighoudt met het bespelen van de akoestische gitaar, de fluit en de keyboards. Dat hij daardor omschreven wordt als een multi-instrumentalist is zeker niet vreemd te noemen. Verder schrijft hij ook alle nummers zelf en produceerde en mixte hij dit hele plaatje. Toch zijn de andere groepsleden even belanggrijk en zonder hen zou de melodieuze powermetal van ATTACK op niet veel trekken.

 De CD opent met het furieuze "Light In The Dark" en meteen valt het hoge stemgeluid van Ricky op. Toen ik in 1985 voor het eerst kennis maakte met deze band viel dat al direct op ensindsdien is zijn stem dus niets veranderd. Toch moet ik toegeven dat het prima bij de muziek past, al is het natuurlijk wel even wennen.

Mensen die echter houden van het eerder genoemde genre muziek zullen met deze schiijf zeker wel wat kunnen doen, want ook songs als "I Know", "The Prophecy", "Mortal Energy" en "Heroes Die Young" spetteren langs alle kanten. Dat er af en toe zelfs wat gitaarpartijen ala Malmsteen opduiken kan ook de sfeer niet verpesten en de akoestische stukken zorgen voor de nodige afwisseling. Deze schijf werd verder zeer stevig geproduceerd en hij is het uitproberen zeker wel waard.

"Mindview"-Magazine (Belgium)

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ATTACK  "The Secret Place"

Immer noch unterbewertet im eigenem Land sind ATTACK. Obwohl sie bereits seit zehn Jahren dabei sind, haben die Deutschen hier den Kultstatus noch nicht überwinden können. Dabei zeigen sie gerade auf dem aktuellen Album "The Secret Place"  wo ihre Stärken liegen. Tempiwechsel, Gitarren-Perforceritte, ein martialischer Gesang und gnadenloser Speed wenn notwendig gehören zu den Markenzeichen des Quartetts. Orchestrale Keyboards, aber auch Ricky van Helden´s Arbeit an der akustischen Gitarre, Geige und Flöte komplettieren ein klangliches Gesamtwerk, wie es nur ATTACK in dieser Kompromißlosikeit anbieten.

"SOUNDCHECK"-Magazine (Germany)

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ATTACK  "The Secret Place"

Attack spent a long time making superior power metal records that no-one seemed to hear. Unlike the more delicate, flowery corners of the genre, Attack played full on Manowar/Heavy Load style metal, and this is perhaps their best single release. Songs like "Light In The Dark" and "The Prophecy" are both memorable and powerful, while the production is more or less perfect. Good players, good writers, this band just didn't deserve to slip through the cracks.

"Cirithungol" (Greece)

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ATTACK  "The Secret Place"

Heavy Metal kommt aus Deutschland! Musik, hart wie Kruppstahl, die Hallen in Sao Paulo, Sidney, New York und Moskau ebenso füllt wie in Bottrop! Bands wie ACCEPT, HELLOWEEN, GRAVE DIGGER oder RUNNING WILD haben international die gesamte Szene mitgeformt und beeinflussen bis heute Legionen aufstrebender Bands. Was viele nicht wissen, ist, dass hier auch in der zweiten Reihe amtlich geheizt wird beziehungsweise wurde.

Dass der Sprung aus dem Underground heraus nicht geglückt ist, schmälert nämlich nicht die Qualität der Hymnen, die seinerzeit für die Ewigkeit geschmiedet wurden von Bands wie HEAVENS GATE, STORMWITCH oder REAPER. Oder eben von ATTACK, um die es hier geht. Neben der Herkunft und den zeitlosen Klassikern, hinter denen diese Bands stehen, haben sie nämlich noch eine Gemeinsamkeit: an die Diskographien ist teilweise kaum noch ranzukommen. Und hier kommen die kleinen griechischen Label Steel Legacy und Lighten The Underground ins Spiel, erstere verantwortlich für die hier vorliegende, neu abgemischte CD-Version des '95er-Prachtstückes "The Secret Place".

Nach dem Album wurde es still um die Band, die sich 2011 nur mit der Best-Of "Warriors In Time" zurückmeldete. Von dieser Lethargie ließ sich aber auf der Platte selbst noch nichts erahnen. Die klingt durch und durch nach deutschem Stahl, mit variablem, aber kraftvollem Gesang und höllisch schnellem Riffing.
'Light In The Dark' wägt den Hörer zunächst noch in Sicherheit, ehe es mit dem drückenden Hauptriff Fahrt aufnimmt. Nichts Besonderes soweit, bis der Chorus entfesselt wird und dann ist es entweder um einen geschehen, oder man steht auf AVENGED SEVENFOLD.

"The Secret Place" kratzt trotz einiger kompositorischer Elemente, die ein Augenbrauenrümpfen hervorrufen mögen, bemerkenswert stark an der Perfektion. Denn jeder dieser Momente steht im Schatten epischer Großtaten wie der oben genannten, oder der bombastischen Strophe von 'I Know', die den getragenen Refrain, der darauf folgt, locker aus der Hüfte mit in die Sphären der Großartigkeit hebt. Pfeilschnelle Soli wohin das Auge blickt und ein Gefühl für Arrangements, dass einem fast die Spucke wegbleibt. Kein Song hat nicht irgendeine Stelle, die sich sofort ins Gehör brennt, und viele gehen noch weit darüber hinaus. 'The Prophecy' - zum Niederknien! 'Mortal Energy' - Hochgenuss! ATTACK haben einen so ureigenen Sound, dass man versucht ist, anzunehmen, sie hätten sich Anfang der Siebziger in einem Bunker verschanzt, um zehn Jahre später mit ihrem ureigenen Konzept von Heavy Metal auszuziehen, die Welt zu verändern. Gut, zwischen dreieinhalb- bis fünfminütigen Titeln ein siebenminütiges Instrumental zu platzieren, ist gewöhnungsbedürftig, aber hey - Bunker. Der Song 'Warrior' ist noch im direkten Vergleich mit dem Restalbum so eine Glanztat, dass ich mir spare, weiter darauf einzugehen.

Man könnte also sagen, dass Steel Legacy hier sowas gemacht haben, wie die Titanic zu heben, mit dem Unterschied, dass die Titanic nicht so geil ist! Die Vinylversion erscheint über Lighten The Underground, welches bis Februar auch das Vorvorgängeralbum "Destinies Of War" neu aufgelegt haben will.

"Bleeding4Metal"

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