Review by Rick Ossian
On first listen to Attica Rage’s stonking sophomore LP, Road Dog, I was transported back to a sublime blues-rock heaven from the 1970’s. I also found my head doing this nagging ‘nodding’ thing, when suddenly I mused; o my, I’m headbanging! That, readers, is a definite step in the right direction. While I do find myself in toe-tapping mode through most of this record, there is one ballad, an instrumental with acoustic guitar and violin called Altea. An interesting interlude indeed, no doubt a paean to the songwriter’s muse, his lovely lady. It is unique amidst this collection in that it is a subdued piece. The rest of the tracks, alas, are not! Which, in my humble opinion, is a good thing. Then, of course, one look at the name of the band should have clued us in.
Take One Minute Silence, for example, which lures us in with a bit of a Spanish spoken word intro, before laying down a supreme opening riff, followed by an angular lead and a sinister blues-rock beat. The vocals here are superb as well, but lets keep in mind that I am far from a vocal expert. I would imagine a Simon Cowell or, perhaps, a Randy/Paula mishmash, would tell our heroes to pack up and go home. He of the mighty X Factor can kiss my royal American ass! But let’s not get too picky or philosophical here…you will understand when I say I feel the effect of being transported in time, especially when I hear the breakdown beat about mid way through, accompanied by not one, but two wah/crybaby infused leads! What a great track! The closing guitar salvo will have you drooling for more.
Probably my fave of the tracks on offer is the title track (sort of), Road Dog Forever. By the by, I persuaded the wifey to have a little listen as well, being enamored of it as I was. Here we have a man who is singing an ode to his partner for life: “As time goes by/Part of me will never die/I’ll be your road dog forever“. They couldn’t have picked a better track to represent this record, unless of course it was Back to the Old School, 36 Insane (the opener), or Swimming With Sharks, any of which would probably have sufficed. In other words, I’m having a little difficulty picking an absolute fave. I have sampled all of the songs at least twice, while of course returning to Road Dog several times. Anyone fearing that Attica Rage will suffer the infamous sophomore jinx need not worry. Rest assured, and hope that the third will be just as good or better. Something tells me it will!
Through The Inner Eye, another real barnburner, starts off with a slightly Sabbath-y riff, then proceeds to pound us into submission with a mid-tempo blues-rock jam. It is, again, amidst several tracks that give off a distinct 70’s vibe. The plaintive, introspective sections belie the fact that these cats can really rock. To be eclectic, alas, is to be more marketable, and they have succeeded with that in spades. When our hero asks, “Who am I anyway?”, we almost want to scream, “we don’t care, just keep playing!”
In Contradictions, once again we are set up by a Sabbath-esque salvo of riffery, pounding drums and menacing vocals. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I once again was feeling like a time-traveller of sorts, visiting the Blue Cheer/Sabbath/S.A.H.B. Hall of Halcyon Days of Yore Museum. These riffs can, and will, scare people – but in a good way. In short, there are 14 tracks in all, and not a dud amongst them. This is a fantastic record that absolutely deserves your attention and your ears! Those of you on Facebook can get a proper introduction to the band by going to their Attica Rage Page.