When I heard that ATTILA would officially release their “Weapons Of Extermination” in Hoogland, I just knew that we had to be there. We saw the band last year at the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival and for me, they were absolutely one of the winners there. It’s been too long ago, since we’ve seen them and this would be a mighty fine chance to see the band one more time, but then a little bit longer than an hour. ATTILA never walked the paved paths and there was always something exciting and special in their music. They never reached the big public though, like HIGHWAY CHILE, VENGEANCE, BODINE and PICTURE did. The foundation of ATTILA is from a band from Amersfoort, called WELLS FARGO, who’s on the “Metallic Storm” sampler from 1982 with “Hell Ride”. ATTILA as a band was founded one year later and their music could be described as power metal, however that would be too easy. Their sound is so much more and they have always been very keen about doing things that other bands wouldn’t dare or think about. They were innovative, true to themselves and above this all, they’re some great musicians. Before I’m going to write something about the live show of tonight, I will start to introduce the band to you. Tonight on stage are Arjan Michels on bass, Ton Holtewes on drums and Herbie Vanderloo on guitar. Arjan and Herbie both played on the album “Something In The Air” by FRANKIE WOODHOUSE. For this reason alone, they are cult heroes, as far as I’m concerned. Tonight, ATTILA will present the re-release of “Weapons Of Extermination” on CD.
De Noot is a large pub in Hoogland, near Amersfoort, where especially blues bands get the opportunity to play for a live audience. This time, ATTILA will entertain the crowd with some real heavy metal. By judging from the amount of people that showed up tonight, it’s quite obvious that ATTILA is still in the hearts and mind of many hardrockers and heavy metal fans. When the band is getting on stage, the people are gathering upfront in no time. Clearly, we’re going to have another hard rocking night. Their set is full of surprises. I would have guessed a song from “Weapons Of Extermination” to start off the show or possibly play that entire EP first, but nothing like that happened at all. Instead, they start with “Mouth Of madness”, a rather unknown song in the ATTILA kind of way. The line-up Of ATTILA is still the same. Arjan Michels is torturing his bass guitar, until you can’t take anymore, while Ton Holtewes will fill up the evening with his innovative drum parts, where he tops every single space possible. And last but not least, all other musical contributions are by Herbie Vanderloo, like playing the guitar, the vocals and the introductions, wherever necessary. “Religion Kills” is taken from the “Triad” album, which will be reissued later on this year by Headbangers Records, so I’ve heard. Like I already mentioned earlier, the band plays a lot of surprises and some unknown songs, like “Solace” and “Ejam”, but they sound pretty much like ATTILA and very innovative. Sometimes, the songs are straight forward hard rock and at other times I hear a lot of WATCHTOWER (Texas, USA) influences, referring to the everlasting mood and speed changes. “Demon Inside” and “Bed Of Nails” are on next and then we finally hear something from the “Weapons Of Extermination” EP, namely “Deathracer”. I put this song on the Facebook page of Holland Heavy Metal announcing the gig of tonight and to my surprise it’s the first track that they play from that EP. It’s a great heavy metal song, which really shows the strength of the band. The band works very hard and impresses quite easily. And for that one song, Arjan switches bass guitars to get the right sound. What’s most peculiar of it all, without being familiar of most songs, they all sound like true killers in my book. “The Smell” and “Drastic” for example are pretty new songs for that matter and they even astonish me at the same time. Mind you, the music of ATTILA isn’t exactly straight forward, easy on the ear rock and roll. It proves that the band delivers high quality high energy metal, that is also very entertaining. The last song of the first part comes from the “Paranoid Ramblings” album that they recorded under the name of H.A.T. I wonder how many side projects there are, besides H.A.T? Are a lot of the songs we just heard part of demos, that we don’t know at all? What I do know is, that the audience, including yours truly, loved the performance so far and a short break is being announced to refill the glasses or have a cigarette or a nice chat with some friends. Actually, we walk into an old friend of ours almost right away and bring back some good old memories.
After a short while, the second part of the show will continue, in which they give it another full hundred percent. After seeing the band at the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival in 2017, I must admit, that they gained much more confidence on stage. Things went smoother and the band has developed into the well-oiled machine that they were back in the eighties. They start off with “Para Mundo” and “Wailing Wall”. I can be short again about the songs. They play a lot of other unknown songs and after “Evil In Me”, we hear two more songs from the aforementioned “Paranoid Ramblings” album, namely “Mescaline” and “Hattrick”. After “Sick And Tired” and “Walk The Talk”, the show slowly comes to an end. It’s quite striking that the band only plays one song off the album that they presented here this evening. That’s how it works with ATTILA. You don’t tell them what to do. They give you the full hundred percent with a high quality live show and nobody won’t be disappointed, except for those people, who wanted to hear the album, the whole album and nothing but the album. After “Fruit Of The Poison Tree”, there is a song called “Nasir Ramez”. It could be the perfect name for a Mexican gangster. But if you pronounce things a little bit differently, this must simply be number 38 on the list of Chinese dishes, which is ‘Nasi Rames’. Do you want kroepoek with that? Or is it only my imagination? Anyway, there’s still one more song, before they pull the plug, which is “Cowboys And Indians”. This last song is again taken from the “Paranoid Ramblings” album. The show is really over now, but we loved every single second of it.
It’s been a very nice night out at De Noot in Hoogland and we’d like to thank Arjan, Ton and Herbie for a great evening. Heavy metal makes hungry, but I guess that the local Chinese is closed already, so instead of number 38 with kroepoek and sambal, we will have to go for doner kebab this time... Hopefully, the band will do a CD release party for “Triad” very soon. You can count us in!
*Text by: Toine van Poorten
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten