As they say, “He who laughs last, laughs best.” And Attika always has gotten the last laugh. At the height of the late ‘80’s hair band pandemic, dopey-looking darlings playing silly-sounding songs were all the rage — and the sweat-soaked U.S. metal brigade found it rather difficult to fit in among the sea of aerosol-sprayed poster boys who ruled their Florida home base cookie-cutter rock scene.
In 1988, the denim-clad collective quietly released their independent, self-titled debut record. And while the pretty boys all were busy primping, preening and banging dirty girls with big hair and tiny skirts in America, Attika ignited a fervent following in Europe with their brutal debut. In fact, the world’s leading metal publication of the day, Kerrang! magazine stamped the Attika record with a solid “5-K” seal of approval.
The accolades continued. Attika was named Florida’s “Best Metal Band” by the prestigious JAM! magazine in 1990. Then, in 1992, their acclaimed sophomore set, When Heroes Fall was released internationally by Massacre Records.
But by the 2000s, Attika had splintered, as co-founding frontman Robert Van War was pursuing new music interests. And thus ends the Attika story. Uh, not so fast there, pardner.
With the resurgence of interest in “legacy” artists, When Heroes Fall was re-released by European metal powerhouse, Pure Steel Records in mid-2019. And recently, the label reissued this classic slab in a glorious vinyl LP format, including photos, liner notes, lyrics, bonus track — “the whole enchilada.”
Produced originally by Attika, the album was recorded at Greg Rike Productions in Florida. The Pure Steel reissue was remastered “masterfully” by Robert Romagna. And this remastered vinyl version sounds absolutely spectacular.
A longtime band staple, “Filming the Tragedy,” is a heart-stopping record opener. Truth be told, the record is fueled from start to finish by guitarist Joe Longobardi’s urgent-sounding riffs and death-defying solos — pushed further into overdrive by the blood-pumping rhythm section of bassist Scott Miller and drummer Jeff Patelski. As for Van War, his classic Halford / Dickinson-caliber vocals, bring each song to life with power and passion, grit and gusto.
Another personal favorite, “Hollow Grave” is a particularly nasty little neck-breaker, with Longobardi at the top of his game. Clocking in at just three minutes and change, the galloping title track is another noteworthy highlight, as well as the newly-included Longobardi / Patelski-penned bonus track, “Silent Rage” — performed live in concert by the band’s current lineup just two years ago. But for my money, the golden gem of this 10-track treasure chest is the Iron Maiden-flavored, “Deliverer.”
Along with perennial bassist Glenn Anthony and guitarist Bill Kraweski, Van War and Patelski continue to enjoy international notoriety — performing numerous concert dates in the U.S. and abroad. The band’s 2018 appearance at the celebrated “Up the Hammers” festival in Greece was a particular career highlight.
Attika will soon issue their next record, Metal Lands — scheduled tentatively for release via Pure Steel later this year. But in the meantime, for those who still crave the classic metal style, this reissue is a skull-crushing treat — especially on vinyl.
When Heroes Fall Track Listing:
1. Filming the Tragedy (4:52)
2. Silent Rage (4:59)
3. Prisoners of Habit (5:04)
4. Hollow Grave (5:41)
5. Seventh Sign (4:34)
1. When Heroes Fall (3:18)
2. Deliverer (4:14)
3. The Shame (4:06)
4. Black Rose (8:01)
5. Silent Rage – Live Bonus Track (6:00)
Run Time: 50:55
Release Date: November 29, 2019
Record Label: Pure Steel Records