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Attackhead - "Voices in the Dark - Second Attack" (CD)

Attackhead - "Voices in the Dark - Second Attack" CD cover image

"Voices in the Dark - Second Attack" track listing:

1. Intro (1:01)
2. Voices In The Dark (4:45)
3. Infected (4:29)
4. Rebirth (4:28)
5. Make Me Suffer (4:23)
6. Lead The Blind (3:55)
7. Possessed (4:52)
8. Blame (5:17)
9. Dark Ritual (5:18)
10. Waste Of Life (5:11)
11. Tazer (3:32)

Reviewed by on February 16, 2011

"'Voices In The Dark - Second Attack' is thrash of the weakest order. Lukewarm riffs, demo-quality production, sloppy musicianship, nothing memorable left behind; just an all-around foul record. "

California is home to some of the greats of thrash metal (Metallica, Exodus, Heathen are a few off the top of the head). For every fantastic band in the genre are hundreds of others striving to achieve even 1/10 of the success that the legends have amassed. With “Voice In The Dark - Second Attack,” Attackhead shows that getting to that fraction is an uphill struggle. This is a re-recorded version of 2008’s “Voices In The Dark,” featuring a revamped line-up, track listing and production. None of this does much to make the 50-odd minutes bearable.

Any chance for the record to be significant fails with the opening riffs to the title track. To say the guitars are weak-sounding doesn’t do justice to how terrible they come across. Tiny and powerless, the rhythm guitars are often overpowered by the booming drums. The solos come in clearer, and are one of the few shining achievements on an album void of much in the way of high points. It’s odd that this could even be considered “re-recorded,” as this reviewer is flabbergasted to see how this version could sound better than the original.

“Voice In The Dark - Second Attack” is stuck in the 80’s when it comes to their thrash sound. Originality is not key here, but there is no poor intimation of noteworthy bands. Hell, even a few of the tunes can be considered decent. Closer “Tazer” is an instrumental seeping with NWOBHM auras, “Blame” leads the pack with a solid harmonic lead passage and a funky bass interlude near the beginning, and “Lead The Blind” charges ahead with a mid-paced catchy take on thrash.

The rest of the album is just forgettable. Even looking past the production, the songwriting is bland. The vocals try to be intimating, but the spat-out shouting lacks melody or flow. “Possessed” has an uncoordinated guitar solo in the beginning that sounds amateurish, “Infected” just never ends; the issues go on and on and the record get slightly better near the last third. By then, most people will have tuned out and gone on to the dozen of other great thrash metal albums released in the past year alone.

The members of Attackhead seem to be decent folk, playing shows for the troops and supporting several charities aimed at veterans. Their music, on the other hand, is something rotten. “Voices In The Dark - Second Attack” is thrash of the weakest order. Lukewarm riffs, demo-quality production, sloppy musicianship, nothing memorable left behind; just an all-around foul record. It’s shocking that this these songs were actually re-recorded; if this is what the new versions sound like, the original ones must have been recorded on a dusty 4-track recorder from the early 1960’s. Even avid thrash fans will be wise to avoid this stinker.

Highs: Decent solos, closing instrumental "Tazer"

Lows: Laughable vocals, awful production, tame songs, nothing memorable

Bottom line: A messy thrash album that sounds like a sloppy demo than a re-recording of a debut album.

Rated 1.5 out of 5 skulls
1.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)