Attackhead: Voices in the Dark

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Attackhead: Voices in the Dark
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Attackhead: Voices in the Dark
Thrash Metal
Twisted Hillbilly Records
January 25th, 2011
Release length: 47:32
Myspace
Website
Voices in the Dark is actually a slightly confusing release from the Orange County, California thrashers Attackhead. This album was originally released back in 2008 through Nine19 Records. Nearly three years later, this independent recording has been picked up by yet another independent label, Twisted Hillbilly Records for a reissue. While I had nothing to compare it to, I’m assuming this reissue is nothing different outside of a few cosmetic changes. But, is this effort actually worth it since another indie label is releasing it three years after it’s initial release, with nothing new being released in between?

Well, let’s examine those cosmetic changes. First, the biggest change is the track listing, which is one song less. Of course, all that has really been done here is have the eight second track “Tazer (Intro)” incorporated somewhat into “Tazer” to make it a slightly longer track. The artwork is also new and, in a sense fitting to the old-school Thrash sound and approach of the band, but doesn’t really feel right, coming off a little more childish and amateurish then the type of artwork one would common associate with hard drawn covers. The previous artwork for the release, a blue border with white faces, all hand drawn and looking somewhat evil, feels more at home then this one. But those are meerly cosmetic issues, and in no way genuinely reflects the material of this recording outside a first appearance on store shelves or webstores.

When it comes down to the actual music for this release, it’s got a mixture of raw and qualities with a more modern production. Right off the band, “Intro” doesn’t do anything for the recording at all, as it doesn’t set up any atmosphere or embrace the listener for what’s to come. Sadly, what is to come is a mixture of a somewhat raw yet still clear recording of the instruments, especially with the drums, and varied vocal levels that often show a much rawer side of the recording. On “Voices in the Dark”, it quickly becomes hard to understand what the vocalist is saying, having a more traditional rhaspy approach but more in the background and heavily drowned out by the instruments. Then, the following track “Infected” kicks in, which has a very heavy, muddy sound to it that makes it sound somewhat sinister, and the vocals are a lot clearer and louder in the mix. This song is really catchy in it’s simplistic ways, but carries with it a more Groove Metal inspiration to it, more along earlier Scissorfight then anything. Aside that, you also have the track “Tazered”, which has an extreme Buckethead vibe to it then anything, just nowhere near as technical, replacing that with some more common sounding Thrash.

Honestly, the music on this recording can sound great. There is a good amount of diversity throughout the songs, but sadly there’s no real bite, and much of the material just sounds like stuff we’ve heard a lot of before, it’s just done well, but lacks bite and any sort of energy. Live, these songs may kill, or perhaps with a better production quality to the release, but in the end the songs just feel a little lacking due to it. The vocals aren’t anything all that impressive either, and really could have been a better. While they are wellsuited to the more Groove oriented “Infected”, and sometimes work on other tracks due to the volume level or just seem to have a little more energy, like on “Rebirth”, they just sound a little like a failed attempt at sounding evil, when the music doesn’t even call for it. “Lead the Blind” is the perfect example, and has moments where the vocals just sound off tone or just attempted terribly. The music for this song, however, is well done, though still doesn’t quite pack all that much of a bite, though the guitar solo on here is simply fantastic.

All of that isn’t to say this is a terrible release. The restricting vocal approach for the album, as atated, does manage to work sometimes, and the music itself is still well done. The only thing that genuinely pulls the album down is the trakc “Dark Ritual”, which features that bite, and that energy, that any listener would expect from any Thrash album. The blistering fury of the music for this song is fantastic, though the vocal approach is just very slightly disappointing at times, coming off a little monotone and robotic, but there’s no denying some more energy in them as well that is heavily lacking in plenty of other tracks. Even the following track “Waste of Life” has a little more of an edge to it musically, coming off with more energy, and not like something we’ve heard a million times over, and the vocals work well with the song and, again, seem a little more energetic. The guitar solo on this track is also excellent, but for the most part all the solos on this release are great.

So, Voices in the Dark is not a question of whether the material is good or bad, it’s a question of the execution and production. The songs on here are great, but many lack any real sort of kick or energy to them, coming off a little more robotic and cliche for the Thrash style, though are composed well and are tight songs. The vocals definitely could use an upgrade, and don’t really work on many of the tracks, but when they do it often will complete the picture as those songs are just great musically already and have all that seems to be lacking from many other songs. Live, this band is probably great, as there are many tracks here, that given that right energy, which could easily be supplied by the fans or a general on stage presence, can makes these tracks into mosh pit monsters. But, as far as this studio recording goes, it’s solid old-school Thrash, but it’s often nothing we haven’t heard.

01. Intro – 1:01
02. Voices in the Dark – 4:45
03. Infected – 4:29
04. Rebirth – 4:48
05. Make Me Suffer – 4:23
06. Lead the Blind – 3:55
07. Possessed – 4:52
08. Blame – 5:17
09. Dark Ritual – 5:18
10. Waste of Life – 5:11
11. Tazer – 3:32
Overall Score: 6.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Twisted Hillbilly Records.