ATTAXE – 20 Years The Hard Way

ATTAXE - 20 Years The Hard Way
  • 6/10
    ATTAXE - 20 Years The Hard Way - 6/10


Pure Steel Records
Release date: July 31, 2020

User Review
2/10 (1 vote)

If ever there was a band worthy of being described as “real triers”, Attaxe were it. Looking at their history, there’s something spookily symmetrical about them that reflects the tribulations of genre stablemates such as Anvil. Only in this case there’s no happy ending: the fat lady left the building while the band were still tuning up. Not even profile-raising tours with self-selecting Big Four members Anthrax could open the gnarled doors of success. The band jacked it in 1994, but periodic calls for a reunion are still heard in Southern California and the mulleted end of the German rock scene.

So why should anyone but the faithful care about this re-release? Well, production tics notwithstanding, there’s some decent enough fare. Of course the references are easy to spot – occasional nods to Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Alcatrazz etc. are barely disguised. That said, the band are sufficiently knowing to make this a playful exploration of the genre’s noble history, rather than a collection of burgled riffage.

And there’s variety here too – Metal Messiah pumps along with a pleasing lack of refinement, its blistering solos and hollered vocals surely enough to satisfy metal purists. Second track Unholy Realm sounds more like a demo than anything else, but there’s an interesting melange of styles and textures to cut through any reservations about the quality of the sound. Sludgy, Catherdraleque riffs scrape along creating a sense of rising tension and barely resolved melodrama that never quite lets go once the last notes fade away.

While much of the rest of the album betrays a more conservative streak, there are still high points to enjoy. “Lovefire” sounds like it might have some ambition to be a ballad, before giving way to a rhythm figure carved out of pure granite. “Powermad” gives vocalist Juan Ricardo ample opportunity to explore the upper reaches of his range. All in all, there are enough moments that suggest that time spent listening to this album is not time that is entirely wasted.


  • Dan Whittle

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been a music fan since his mother introduced him to the piano at the age of 5. That she introduced him is no real guide to whether he could play it, "as anyone who had the misfortune to hear my hamfisted plonking would readily testify," says Dan. Abandoning his nascent career as a pianist, he turned, instead, to listening to as many albums as he could lay his hands on. The first, halting steps, were of the novelty record variety; but gradually he found his niche. After a brief, abortive flirtation with indie, he heard Clutching at Straws by Marillion and that was it. These days his tastes are on the catholic side, but whiling away a few hours listening to ambitious guitar music (especially of the progressive variety) is still amongst his favorite activities.   Oh, and if anyone's wondering, he did learn the piano and the guitar in the end...

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