ATTICA RAGE, Fury, Captain Horizon @Scruffy Murphys 26/9/14

Scottish biker metallers Attica Rage stop off in Birmingham on their UK tour and bring a couple of others along for the ride

The sad loss of Skam on this bill means that it falls to local heroes Captain Horizon to kick things off. It’s a challenge that they were never going to fail. Not only do Captain have a collection of excellent songs with a sound far bigger than it might first appear – witness “Patch” which sees them “standing my ground in my own damn way” and almost dares you to take them on – but they are superb live too. Singer Whitty has recently discovered prog apparently (“it’s good with a spliff, I’m going to try it with LSD next week”) but is still part whirlwind, part frontman and their music is becoming increasingly less concerned by genres in a most pleasing fashion. Horizon are surely destined to travel far.

Another local mob Fury follow. The Worcester band were fixtures on the scene a year or two back. A combination of their NWOBHM inspired sound and thrilling live shows saw them gather quite a following (including sold-out gigs at the Academy 3). A period of relative quiet followed as they regrouped to make a full-length record. That album “The Lightening Dream,” has been released just in time to coincide with this jaunt up and down the country with tonight’s headliners. They are straight out of the traps tonight with “In To The Dark” and Fury merely set about reminding us all just how good they are. Musically their twin-guitar attack has not changed and they remain brilliantly trad fist-in-the-air fun. “Birmingham do you like Vikings?” They enquire helpfully before launching into “Eyes Of The Dead.” As you would expect the new album is trawled and “Out Beyond The Stars” has a militaristic feel before becoming a superb Maiden-esque gallop. “The Warriors Prayer” is perhaps best of all, adding a huge chorus and mighty riff to the mix, but Fury remain what they were a year or two back, heavy metal heroes in waiting. “Britannia” merely cements that, while the closing romp of “What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor” would give Alestorm a run for their money.

Biker metal and roll. That’s what Attica Rage – who seem to tour the UK every September- call themselves. With bloody good reason too. This is leather clad hard rock to it’s very saddle. It is also damn entertaining, with it’s echoes of “Blood Fire And Love” era Almighty and even more than that, Rage’s is a sound that is made for venues like this. The twice before that MV has seen them they’ve been perhaps victims of circumstance playing on bills and in venues that didn’t suit them. Tonight in a sweat soaked Scruffys it feels right

The thing about Rage is this. They do the simple things exceptionally well. There are no pretensions here, just four blokes playing music that they evidently love, just because they can. Starting tonight with “Killer Carrousel” they rattle, and they rumble.

Their records are all very well (and very good) but it’s live that songs like “36 Insane” are meant to be played and heard, likewise “Contradictions” takes The Almighty’s “Addiction” and drenches it in beer fuelled intent.

They even play a new song, literally. Said tune is brand spanking that it’s called “New Song.” When it’s aired the track fits right in like a comfy shoe, meaty riffing, with a kind of jaunty hook it bodes well for the next album due next year. “Long Ride Home” changes the gear a little, and while “Through The Inner Eye” might have a riff that is (ahem!) reminiscent of “Iron Man” it is perfect here.

Just like last year they give the Osmond’s “Crazy Horses” a trot around the paddock (see what we did there?) and “Back To The Old School” shows Rage paying homage “this is who we are,” screams singer Johnny and no one argues.

And moreover you suspect that no one here wants it any other way. Gentlemen start your engines.