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Attick Demons – Daytime Stories, Nightmare Tales

Attick Demons
Daytime Stories, Nightmare Tales
by kenn staub at 21 September 2020, 1:27 PM

Portuguese band ATTICK DEMONS continues their contemporary take on NWOBHM-era music with the release of “Daytime Stories, Nightmare Tales,” due out September 25 on Rock of Angels Records. The traditions of NWOBHM run deep on this album, albeit it in a bit heavier form, with IRON MAIDEN quickly coming to mind in terms of comparison. Throughout the album drummer Ricardo Oliveira sets an authoritative tempo, Dário Antunes lays down a powerful bass line, guitarists João Clemente and Nuno Martins supply the solos and riffage, and vocalist Arthur Almeida sings tales of the occult and Portuguese history in a voice crazily similar to Bruce Dickinson’s (and of such a range that forays into Rob Halford territory aren’t uncommon).

To be honest, “Daytime Stories, Nighttime Tales” started somewhat inauspiciously for me. The opener and album’s first single, “The Contract,” seemed a bit thin and tinny. Or maybe it was that I was just expecting a fuller sound from four instrumentalists. Despite the stripped down quality, the track has the feel of a metal epic and lets you know this is going to be a NWOBHM-infused outing. Almeida also wastes no time in showing off his pipes, going up and down his sizeable range during the song.

Make Your Choice,” the next offering, sounds fuller than the preceding track. The rhythm, which features a hooky guitar riff, transitions from uptempo to slower and more foreboding (including a guitar solo rife with anguish) back to driving. This tune, the album’s second release, could have easily appeared on any NWOBHM album from the 1980s. After a stark acoustic guitar intro, “Renegade” ratchets up to provide the dense rhythm I’d been expecting when given this album to review. Antunes’s bass playing shines through, providing a driving, headbanging line. Almeida settles in, his vocals sung in a more consistent range void of ultrahigh excursions. Again, the song includes a tonal shift, becoming more methodically paced in the middle before guitars send the tune off on a brighter ending.

The shortest track on the album, “The Revenge Of The Sailor King,” might have the most going on, exhibiting a very tight rhythm, multiple tempo changes, and two distinct solo breaks. The guitars grind out a cool riff as Almeida’s voice takes over, on top of the melody and intermixed within the aural background. “Hills Of Sadness” follows, beginning with a simple acoustic guitar intro before the track becomes more layered. The song goes full metal at the two-minute mark and continues in that manner with a tight rhythm and echoey choruses. Just when the tempo began to flag, along came an energetic guitar solo to the rescue.

Headbanger” was a NWOBHM celebration. Leading off with a noteworthy bass intro, Almeida next adds his voice. The song picks up its full head of steam when the guitars and drums make their presence felt, building into that classic, galloping metal sound rivetheads have come to know and love. Oliveira shows his versatility on the drums, providing a rat-a-tat pacing paired with the deft use of cymbals. He continues to shine on “Devil’s Crossroad,” putting down a beat the guitars can play over top of. Clemente and Martins produce a nice riff they play in a refrain-like manner. The song has a brighter tonality than some of the previous tracks, especially in the choruses.

To put it simply, “O Condestave” swept me away and finds every member of ATTICK DEMONS firing on all cylinders. Telling, I believe, the story of the general who played a decisive role in obtaining Portugal’s independence from Castille, the song, sung in Portuguese, takes the listener on a musical journey. As befitting the topic, the tone is grand, almost regal, an unfurling of sound that progressively picks up momentum. The song’s racing urgency is broken by a folk interlude, played with traditional Portuguese instruments, giving it an almost medieval feel. After this interlude, the song races to it conclusion, concluding a MAIDEN-ish lesson in history.

Running” is an ideal curtainjerker, the most modern sounding song on the album. This track has an almost thrash-like feel, highlighted by a catchy refrain. The tempo slows at about the halfway point, but then gradually ramps back up to send the album out in style. “Daytime Stories, Nightmare Tales” could almost be the tale of two albums. The first two or three songs, though good, just weren’t all that satisfying to me. After this somewhat slow start, which might be considered a warm-up, everything picks up considerably, becoming musically denser. The penultimate song, “O Condestave,” could be used as a guide for any band seeking to tell dramatic stories through metal. By the time the album concluded, I found myself fully satisfied with the NWOBHM experience ATTICK DEMONS provided.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Contract
2. Make Your Choice
3. Renegade
4. The Revenge Of The Sailor King
5. Hills Of Sadness
6. Headbanger
7. Devil’s Crossroad
8. O Condestave
9. Running
Lineup:
Arthur Almeida – Vocals
João Clemente – Guitar
Nuno Martins – Guitar
Dário Antunes – Bass
Ricardo Oliveira – Drums
Record Label: Rock of Angels Records
     


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Edited 28 February 2021
 

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