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Giants Of Canaan
Released: 2013, Metal On Metal Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
New Jersey US power metal stalwarts Attacker first gained underground cult favorite status with 1985's "Battle Of Helm's Deep" album. After 1988's "The Second Coming" follow up the band wouldn't be heard from for a good sixteen years. After reforming in 2004 the band has remained active and with the release of their latest full length GIANTS OF CANAAN (their first effort for Italy's Metal On Metal Records) continue to solidify their lasting legacy in U.S. Power Metal circles.
The album opens with a brief interlude before properly unleashing a melodic metal thrash fest on the album's first proper track (and the album's title track) "Giants of Canaan". The guitar tandem of Mike Benetatos and Pat Marinelli seamlessly interweave and harmonize well together and always seem to remember to integrate a good amount of chunky riffage to keep things heavy. Vocalist Bobby "Leather Lungs" Lucas (Overlorde/Morbid Sin)needs little introduction as he has fronted some of the seminal US power metal acts and sounds just as stellar today as the first time you've heard him. "Trapped In Black" features a driving bass line complemented by a neck snapping drumbeat. The rhythm section of bassist Jon Hanemann and drummer Mike Sabatini shine on this number and the rocking tune is really built around their tightness. "The Hammer" has a bit of an Egyptian feel to it and is a mid tempo battle epic apparently about opposing the Muslim opposition (Awesome!I'm all for that)This is a real rocker right here and Bobby is hitting the high notes with an aggressive snarl that really gets the metal blood pumping.
The epic progressive leanings of "Washed In Blood" make this song a total riff fest, masterfully written and delivered. If ever there was a band from New Jersey that deserved to tour for a full length release in 2013, Attacker has secured my vote of confidence. This stuff is too killer not to hear in the live atmosphere. "Sands Of Time" is the token metal anthem of GIANTS OF CANAAN. Lyrically Attacker gives the nod to forefathers like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Rainbow even the NWOBHM movement of the late seventies and early eighties. I gotta give them props for that.
"Curse The Light" is a definite favorite on GIANTS OF CANAAN. Now a lot of bands step forward every so often with a distinct Iron Maiden influence and I can definitely hear that on "Curse The Light" but I'd take that a step further and say this is the kind of song I wish Iron Maiden was still capable of writing. This could have been a more aggressive and irate long lost cousin of any track on the Powerslave album, but closest I think to "Aces High" in particular. I could totally see Bruce Bruce hammering out this chorus too. "Black Winds Calling" has narrow winding riffs performed at lightning speed and comes across a bit thrashier and meaner than the albums other tracks. Bobby sounds super pissed and he means business. There are some really great harmonized dual lead guitar breaks and some killer soloing post chorus. "Steel Vengeance" reminds me of the kind of explosive power metal pyrotechnics delivered with absolute precision that recall Nuclear Fire era Primal Fear. A steady beat lays the foundation for these seasoned metal veterans to shine and shine they do. "Born Into Battle" keeps that head banging as Bobby offers forth another platter centered around the stench of a crimson soaked battlefield, though this time from the perspective of a Samurai warrior. "Glen Of The Ghost" ends an epic metal album with epic metal majesty and mastery. The vocal phrasing grabs you and will have you throwing your fists in the air and yelling really well thought out and intelligent stuff like "Fuck yeah! Attacker rules!"
Make no mistake, you need this album. GIANTS OF CANAAN must be heard to be believed. Don't take my word for it, seek out a copy and confirm for yourself that every song on this record is the stuff of metal glory.
1. As They Descend
2. Giants Of Canaan
3. Trapped In Black
4. The Hammer
5. Washed In Blood
6. Sands Of Time
7. Curse The Light
8. Black Winds Calling
9. Steel Vengeance
10. Born Into Battle
11. The Glen Of The Ghost
Bobby "Leather Lungs" Lucas - Vocals
Mike Benetatos - Guitar
Pat Marinelli - Guitar
Jon Hanemann - Bass
Mike Sabatini - Drums
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