Released: 2014, Inkas Noize Records
Many try, but few succeed in releasing albums that sound like they were written and recorded in the heyday of NWOBHM/traditional metal. Peru’s Mandragora has succeeded, at least partially, as their debut EP is only two songs. Still, within those two songs the band has captured the untarnished magic of that bygone era, as if 30 years of metal evolution have never happened. Really, it is quite an accomplishment. Cross WALLS OF JERICHO-era Helloween with Grim Reaper’s SEE YOU IN HELL and you can get an accurate idea of FIRST ATTACK.
Formed in 2007, the band originally sang only in Spanish, but has since expanded their international appeal by switching to English. Singer Fátima Natthammer recalls Kai Hansen’s early days as Helloween’s singer while the guitar work is outstanding. The bass and drums pack quite a punch for an Indie release, as evidenced in first tune “Snakebite”, which is carried by vintage riffs delivered with exuberance that makes me pine for the old days. “Lady In Black” follows with a quick sample from Disney’s FANTASMIC character, Maleficent before delivering a speedy NWOBHM standard gallop.
FIRST ATTACK delivers despite its brevity, boasting very respectable production and an almost clinical obsession with perfecting a bygone time’s intangible sonics without sounding inauthentic or lacking in passion. I am looking forward to a full-length effort and whether the band can pass the test of delivering consistently over an entire album of songs. First step though is a winner, particularly for fans of Grim Reaper, Warlock, early Helloween and traditional metal/NWOBHM in general.