ATTAXE – 20 YEARS THE HARD WAY (Pure Steel Records / Soulfood)

Review by Stefan: US Metal will always have a special place in my heart, this time I’m excited to spread the news of Cleveland, Ohio based  Attaxe, formed in 1985. Not to be confused with Attaxe (Speed/Thrash Metal) from Orange, California who called it quits after a ten year existence (1985-’95). For the avoidance of doubt, I’m talking about the Cleveland guys featuring one of my all-time favorite singers, Juan Ricardo (Ritual, Blind Cross, Wretch, Sunless Sky, ex-Chemikill/Ritual Torment/Dark Arena to name but a few. This good man deserves a medal of honor and fidelity to the US Metal genre !

Considered as one of the newcomers in the 80s Metal scene, these guys released loads of demo stuff, one single, an EP, finally in 1986 they worked out a first full length album “Attaxe”, an 11 track loading US Heavy Metal machine who has never seen the light of day. Metal Blade appeared to be interested but it never made it to the signing of a contract. In 2003, there was an unofficial bootleg compilation available entitled “Attaxe”. Then three years later a more tangible article finally came on the market, the independent collector “20 Years The Hard Way”.

Fifteen songs and a running time of 55:42 minutes, I never got the opportunity to own this album. At the end of July 2020 Pure Steel Records came up with the bright idea of re-releasing the album again, the outspoken opportunity for me to still get hold of this highly coveted product. As a fan of 80s US Metal you have to get your hands on this release, I’m very grateful to the label and my happiness can’t be broken when I listen to all the songs with a lot of admiration.

On “20 Years The Hard Way” you can hear more old acquaintances at work such as three axemen Scott Stage (ex-Lizzy Borden), Purgatory’s Greg Perry and Steve McDonald (ex-Born Rude). All vocal performances by the one and only Juan Ricardo ! Fans of US Metal highlights ex-Dark Arena/Antithesis/Mutant Soldier will be pleased to welcome the outstanding guitar skills of Paul Konjicija (R.I.P. 2019).

The fifteen songs come from their individual demos released over the years. The lineup was changed regularly, that’s why you’ll hear a whole range of musicians at work. This is also the reason why the recording sound is not the same everywhere. There may be some difference here and there but in general this compilation sounds very good, kinda flat but that’s all about the 80s folks !

Heavy Metal from yesteryear but damn right, I love this way of Metal so damn much. No nonsense, no beating around the bush, so pure and efficacious way of acting made the 80s era so fantastic in my opinion. Listening to Attaxe’s “20 Years The Hard Way” delivers me good memories of the most interesting days of my live ! The high pitched/falsetto type vocals of Juan Ricardo make their way through my blood vessels, the howling guitars drives me to insanity and drum and bass lines make the ground vibrate underneath my feet.

Awesome fact, the song ‘Pedal To The Metal’ has been added to the track list, it was one of the songs of Auburn Records compilation available on cassette called “Heavy Artillery”. More gems like good old Hard Rock come to life throughout the hole nine yards but thank God it’s mainly US Traditional Heavy Metal who’s going to run with the grand prize ! My favorite songs: ‘Metal Messiah’, ‘Suicide’, ‘Lovefire’, ‘Jealousy’, ‘Out Of The Storm’, ‘Capture Of The Universe’ and their NWOBHM character, ‘Leave It All Behind’ which reminds me of good old Gargoyle !

Conclusion: A must-have for anyone who has a heart for US Metal mainly. Overall, I have to say that if you’re attracted to 80s metal in general, you should also consider a purchase. Order the CD right HERE / purchase the limited up to 250 copies HERE. Attaxe Web: US Metal Still Reigns Supreme !

My rating: 89/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)