Attacker – “Battle At Helms Deep” (1985)

American power metal here, from just-below-ground.  Judging by the cover art and sound quality of this recording (as well as the Metal Blade label), Battle At Helms Deep was a shoestring affair.  But, save for Bob Mitchell’s sucktacular vocals, there is plenty to enjoy about this scrap metal fossil.  Above all else, the songs are built on creative but well-resolved riffs that feel familiar and right.  Additionally, Mitchell provides great melody to his vocal lines, but unfortunately the man has an extremely annoying and shrill vocal tone that makes him hard to listen to, and his lyrics difficult to understand.  This is a shame, because I think the songwriting on Battle At Helms Deep is very strong.  While listening to the record I find myself wishing Bob would get the hell out of the way and let me enjoy the kick-ass tunes!  GO AWAY BOB!  I believe that vocalists can make or break a metal album more than any other performer.  I’ve seen cases where a great vocalist can elevate mediocre songwriting, but more often we have instances such as this where a vocalist doesn’t give justice to the material on hand.  (Note: Some people love Mitchell’s vocals… the lesson here is to judge for yourself.)  Fans of mid-eighties American power metal bands such as Jag Panzer or Omen; take notice of this release.  Beware Bob Mitchell, though, an acquired taste for sure.  AWESOME  COVER!  My score: B


One thought on “Attacker – “Battle At Helms Deep” (1985)

  1. Whoa…!!!

    First off, I have to admit I am a huge, huge, huge Bob Mitchell fan, so I hear this album a little different…. THERE IS NO ACCOUNTING FOR AQUIRED TASTE…I am a fan of shrill, high
    pitched, and falsetto vocals. So I can not be really critical here, because I am a crazed fanatic of Attacker, and Bob Mitchell

    NO MATTER THE GENRE the band belongs to…I am always on the look out for bands with falsetto vocalist…so when I hear this band on a Metal Massacre compilation, I was totally hooked.

    This is one of those CD’s I have to buy a new one every year. I play this disc alot.

    The reason, I have this album on my all-time classics list, because the time from 1985-1999. (It was horriable hell..always trying to replace this…14 years it took for this to get a CD re-edition)…man what a rough 14 years. I was psyched when Jeff Wagner wrote in Metal Maniacs. Thereview for the CD pressing of this. I called Denis Gulby right-away, and yes, his excellent Sentinel Steel records label, did the CD re-release for this album, and everything Sentinel Steel, does is first rate.

    The guitar playing on every Attacker release is just totally awesome. Lots of Iron Maiden meets Deep Purple meets Rainbow influences all over the place, which is fine buy me since I love those bands.

    Alot of originality and creativity went in to the songwriting making this a timeless album.

    Alot of times I will pull this album out. Just to hear the killer bass guitar work on this album, awesome metal bassist. ala the first 4 Iron Maiden’s.

    No this was no shoe-string buget affair. this album had tons of delays, and Metal Blade…hated the artwork ( see the Sentinel Steel version, to see, what the band originally wanted, compared to what Enigma/ Metal Blade released). And for some reason, the band scrapped the first recordings of the bass guitar work, erased everything, and did a whole recording of the bass.

    For the money spent on this. It should of sounded heavier, but at least it was better than the demos that got Attacker this record deal in the first place.

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