What does it say about the state of music today that brand new bands oftentimes find greater satisfaction in reviving ancient sounds than attempting to concoct something entirely new and original? Come to think of, perhaps this trend simply reflects the growing awareness that everything under sun and moon has already been done in rock and roll; so riffling through the past for inspiration is truly the only way forward.
Certainly, one can safely surmise that this line of thinking played a part in the formation of German metal revivalists ATTIC, who have dedicated their two-odd years of existence to the act of recycling the music of MERCYFUL FATE and KING DIAMOND with a scientific precision that almost defies belief. Having shamelessly announced these intentions with a self-titled EP and split 7" with WALPURGIS NIGHT, the quintet obviously saw no good reason to deviate even an inch from that creative agenda when composing their full-length debut, "The Invocation", released Van Records in late 2012.
Heck, KING DIAMOND himself would be forgiven for wondering if he'd been drugged, abducted, and forced to record these vocal tracks - such are the clone-like histrionic similarities employed by his ATTIC-fronting disciple, Meister Cagliostro. From the most piercing scream on down to every vibrato-laced falsetto, plus the occasional anguished growl, Cagliostro sounds ever like, and never like anyone else but, the King himself. Likewise, his bandmates rarely veer too far from MERCYFUL FATE's arcane brand of European metal, swapping twin guitar harmonies and roughshod staccato riffs with neoclassical leads that, all told, would leave both Michael Denner and Hank Shermann (maybe even Andy La Rocque) feeling proud, if not legally contentious.
Yes, the realization that it is nearly impossible to evaluate ATTIC's songs as their own, rather than FATE's, is liable to leave most listeners utterly stumped, at first. But, since neither MERCYFUL FATE nor even KING DIAMOND's band have consistently produced songs anywhere near this heavy or contagious beyond the late 1980s, why blame ATTIC for giving it the old college try?
Only a pair of organ-performed instrumentals - "The Hidden Grave" and "In The Chapel" - deviate slightly from ATTIC's chief influences and suggest their keen awareness of the crossover success enjoyed of late by GHOST - another band that owes a little something to MERCYFUL FATE, though admittedly not as much as ATTIC.
All of which means that perhaps only a neophyte metalhead, without prior exposure to KING DIAMOND's old band can properly evaluate ATTIC's worth to modern day listeners. The rest of us can only close our eyes and compare them to what we heard so very long ago.
- Eduardo Rivadavia