CROSSFIRE, Second Attack (1985, Mausoleum)
Another fine architectural skull, to go with my personal favorite, Overkill’s The Years of Decay. Really, you can’t go wrong with a mysterious temple for your cover (see also: Borrowed Time by Diamond Head), and if that temple is also a skull, you’re pretty much set. The best thing about this particular temple is, of course, the goofy eyes. I imagine the court architect building this thing and inviting the head priest to a private unveiling, and the priest saying, “Jeez, man, this is pretty scary. This is a place of worship – we don’t want to turn people off. Can you do anything to tone it down a little? I mean, the skull is totally cool, and I love how the stairs go right into the mouth, that’s great, but I think that people are gonna be too scared to even think about coming in.” And because the architect serves at the pleasure of his religious leaders, he accordingly toned down the menace of his work, but in the most passive-aggressive, ‘fuck you’ way possible: with big googly eyes. Had he found a classier solution, maybe he wouldn’t have been the first human sacrifice offered in the new temple.
This is some fairly awesome Accept-style speed metal from Belgium. I had heard of Crossfire before, and had probably listened to a song or two, but I had never committed to listening to an entire album before now, and I must say, this is excellent stuff. The music is pretty standard mid-80s Belgian fare, played tight and fast, but the songs are very well written and Peter DeWint’s vocals are amazing, reminding me a bit of Perry McCarty (Warrior). This being an album from 1985, there are a couple leaden ballads, but the faster tunes, like “Atomic War,” “Feeling Down,” and the title track are all winners. Honestly, I’ve never been a big Accept fan, mainly because I think Udo’s singing is the pits, but if Restless and Wild were fronted by this guy, it would probably be an all-time favorite of mine. Now I’ve got to find this on CD, along with the other Crossfire albums. I’m sure that won’t be a brutal wallet reaming…
— Friar Johnsen