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If Attacker's second LP from 1988 with a different vocalist was The Second Coming and their 2003-2008 reunion that produced 2 albums with original singer Bob Mitchell at the helm was their third then would technically be their fourth incarnation. Now with Bobby “Leather Lungs” Lucas from Overlorde at the mic and given the throwaway nature of 2004's Soul Taker and 2006's The Unknown my expectations for this latest full length were not exactly high, which makes it all the more exciting then that Giants Of Canaan is one of the Heavy Metal highlights of the year.
The opening title track is truly something to behold. Its opening riff has that same sort of Hollywood technicolor era middle-eastern flavour that the new Warlord album is largely based on, and a side-by-side comparison of the two comebacks just goes to show how stellar this Attacker effort really is. Like the new Warlord it has been self-produced, but the sonics of this are so powerful you could never tell without already knowing. For a Power Metal album this is crushingly heavy in places, but with perfect mixing and instrumental separation, the crowning glory of which is Bobby Lucas' voice. His power to hold notes like on the “Steel Vengeance” marks him out as one of the best in the business, and the contrast between his biting enunciation and Michael Kiske-esque melodic flair shown best on “Born Into Battle” shows individual character.
“Sands Of Time” pays tribute to the lasting power of Heavy Metal and Attacker's place in it, but despite mentioning Battle At Helm's Deep specifically this album has much more in common with The Second Coming. That early Maiden vibe from the band's early days is revived in a big way with the bass solo intro to “Trapped In Black” also boasting a powerful and world-weary chorus that could never be faked by a younger band. Following that things get properly Epic (with a capital E) for “The Hammer”, a tribute to Charles Martel (the grandfather of Charlemagne) and his stemming of the Moors at the Battle Of Tours, and the album concludes with the vaguely Folk Rock-ish melodic number “The Glen Of The Ghost.” The middle portion of the album is made up of tracks like the Jesus-themed “Washed In Blood” as well as “Curse The Light” and “Black Winds Calling” which are speedier and more aggressively sung tracks and all very decent in their own right, but at 52 minutes this album could maybe do with being cut down by a track or two. Aside from that though this is utterly brilliant stuff- essential for any self-respecting fan of US Power Metal. [8/10]
From WAR ON ALL FRONTS A.D. 2013 zine- www.facebook.com/waronallfronts