Reviews of 'Effigy'

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'Effigy' is a ten track album that features seven new tracks and three that were recorded way back when this band, Aittala, started off in 1993. They've released two albums after their early demo demise and this is the follow up to 2011's 'Haunt Your Flesh'.

Is it any good? Well, it has its moments whilst vearing from being Testament wannabes to Cuatro era Flotsam And Jetsam and if that's your thing then this could aid your boredom for a while. There's big shades of doom and pure heavy metal involved (and a smidgen of prog) but ultimately this is a '90s style thrash record that incorporates the slower groove that became the norm for a while back then.

They'll never be a top drawer band - too little too late - but they certainly aren't here to just go through the motions. Ten songs that don't dip in standard can only be admired and when any band play with such intent, you know that they're putting their heart and soul into it.

Fans of doom and the expanded thrash genre might just want to check this band out. What have you got to lose?

Reviewed by Powerplay Rock and Metal Magazine
Issue 169 October 2014

This is an actual print magazine from the UK. Here is the review transcribed:

AITTALA 'Effigy'
Genre: Metal
Independent Release
Aittala are Eric Aittala on guitar/vocals/keys, Matt Pettit on bass/vocals and Gary 'Zeus' Smith on drums. Apparently they created quite a buzz in Holland in the early nineties until Eric had to leave the country for reasons unknown.
Seven of the tracks on 'Effigy' are new compositions, the other three being re-recorded versions from a previous EP.
'Pigs' starts the proceedings with a bass heavy intro and downtuned guitars, very much akin to Prong without the gruff vocals. 'Effigy' continues in the same vein with a creepy guitar underplay that sounds very sinister. 'Russian Roulette' is pure stoner metal with a big Sabbathy riff and stop/start middle section. 'Souvenirs' hears a return of the sinister guitar; slower and malevolent, it draws on the darker side of humanity like a horror movie soundtrack. 'Erased' is a darker doom metal exercise, whilst 'Deconstruct' is real metal in the vein of German legends Rage. 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' is almost thrash metal with an atonal vocal a la Slayer and double kick drum assault. The first re-record, 'Sinister As The Serpent', introduces keys into the equation and veers into prog metal territory. 'Selling Heaven' has a NWOBHM intro, then crashes into a thrash metal monster, and 'Creators Of Doom' is the kind of metal that would give Manowar a run for their money.
This album has something for everyone.
8/10 Powerpoints

Reviewed by Thoughts of Metal
September 22, 2014

Back in 2012 was the first time I heard about the American band AITTALA, led by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Eric Aittala. In that year the band had released their second full-length, “Haunt Your Flesh”. You can read my review here. On that album you could experience a nice mix of Groovy Rock, Heavy and Power Metal. Aside from the gigs afterwards, the band worked on the follow-up, and experienced (another) line-up change (see below). In addition, the three songs from the “Selling Heaven” demo from 1993 were re-recorded. Even ex-drummer Ed Vereijken came back to help record two of those tracks.

Album number three came out in June 2014 under the title “Effigy”. As the band is still unsigned, this is another self-release. You can get your copy via Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, CDBaby, etc.

“Effigy” opens with “Pigs”. A direct, groovy Metal attack featuring clean vocals that contrast nicely with the music. Harmonic singing is done in the chorus. It’s a catchy song, reminiscent of METALLICA, PANTERA and similar. Solo time is due over halfway, played well and refined, not your typical wild solo. And that’s good. “Effigy”, the title track, is next. No instant attack here, but a building guitar intro, creating a bit of tension. This slowly leads to a full opening and take off of the song, still pretty slow with leadwork to add a touch of mystery. The heavy, groove-laden music works again very well with the clean singing. The chorus is melodic and very accessible, melancholic even. It reminded me of e.g. PARADISE LOST. The song could use a bit more speed, I’d say, on certain occasions. This would have made it a little more attractive, in my humble opinion.

“Russian Roulette” also starts with a guitar intro, this time in a Stoner-like manner, as it’s got a dirty kind of sound. And so it carries on, the whole being very accessible. Eric sings in a hypnotizing kind of way here. Musically there are little breaks to give the drums and bass their moments of glory, so to speak, after which it’s solo time. Overall it’s a nice groovy song, good for in-between and/or to cruise to on the highway. Alarms go off in “Souvenirs”. Tension rises. Is there danger ahead? Slow Metal kicks in, joined by a weeping solo guitar. A piece well done, I must say. The alarming guitar sound carries on, on top of which slow, heavy verses flow onwards. The singing is lower now and the combination sounds not too happy. Once again melody mainly resides in the chorus, as does the harmonic singing. PARADISE LOST comes to mind yet again. And to make the song even more attractive or diverse, the chorus part near the end focuses entirely on melody and vocals, leaves all signs of Metal away.

Time for some Doom Metal then: “Erased”. Here the guitar and drums play a dominating role in the intro. Musically I had to think of MARCHE FUNÈBRE (from Belgium), mixed with the Traditional/Epic Doom of CANDLEMASS and SOLITUDE AETURNUS. Even in the melodic, hymnic chorus, there’s no sign of speeding up. And inline with the style and the rest of the songs, the atmosphere remains gloomy. Another job very well done. “Deconstruct” brings back the heavy guitar work and adds more punch to the drums. Finally! Things were being slow a little too long for my taste, to be honest. It’s a straight-forward rocker with a melodic chorus. This time no refined solos, but the wild kind.

Last of the new songs, and it’s not an ICED EARTH cover, is “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. The groovy intro made me think of SEPULTURA’s classic hit “Refuse/Resist” (“Chaos A.D.”, 1993), especially the way guitar and drums play their parts. After that the songs does take off with a focus on the collaboration between the aforementioned instruments. It’s also an energetic song, where rhythm is of vital importance. And it’s good!

And then the re-recorded songs, starting with “Sinister As The Serpent”. This one begins with a melodic line, followed by start/stop-verses, in a manner of speaking. When at full flow, the music slowly advances with the organ in the back and solos in-between the vocal parts. The song rocks, but it needs more melody, because the vocals and music contrast too much. In a way, to me, it sounds like influences from a.o. ICED EARTH, a bit of Stoner Metal, … In se not bad, but not as attractive as the preceding or other two re-recorded songs. “Selling Heaven” takes its time to take off, but once it does, it sure rocks, pounding onwards. A very good one. Last but not least, there’s “Creators Of Doom”, another pounder, but with more melody. You could see it as ICED EARTH meets MEGADETH or something like that. The second half is totally different: more relaxed, calmer, less Metal, and room for leads and solos. And the acoustic guitar rounds it off. Another worthwhile musical experience.

AITTALA managed to positively surprise me two years ago with “Haunt Your Flesh”. This time I feared a little, considering the number of slow(er) songs, but in the end, “Effigy” turned out all right. The mix of Heavy, Power, Stoner, and Doom Metal resulted in a very tasty aural dish. And it shows Eric and co. try to explore several directions to keep things varied and interesting. Check it out!

Reviewed by Loud Mouth
August 14, 2014

With the influences of Metallica, Black Label Society and Iron Maiden evident in their music,
Aittala crosses into multiple genres of metal. Combining hard core beats, heavy riffs and some industrial stylizing they create a sound that feels a bit old school while still new and up to date.
Their album Effigy, released back in June, is filled with a variety that smoothly transitions from song to song making it one to pop in and lose yourself. 
Traditional metal breakdowns and guitar solos re-imagined by the talent of Aittala, accompanied dark lyrics that tend to push the boundaries tell of the haunted side of the human mind with tales of desire, betrayal and anger. The arrangements created by this trio truly bring up the feeling of a well oiled machine, showcasing these musicians ability to create music worthy of a steady following and a listening ear.
Shannon Rae

Reviewed by Metal Temple
June 29, 2014
Rating 2/5

“Pigs” kicks off “Effigy” immediately with a beautiful wall of bass, however, hopes are not to be heightened for this release sadly.

Throughout “Effigy” – it is noticeable that musically it has some strength to it, however, if there is one thing about this album that puts you off, it’s the vocals. Sounding at an average sort of pub singer strength, personally, it doesn’t fit well and sounds almost drone like amongst the music.

Not to sound like a complete arsehole about AITTALA’s release, throughout “Effigy” it’s obvious that the band has some real talent that they have to offer but sadly just couldn’t break through to put that out there and make this record as mind-blowing as it could have been.

Tracks such as “Deconstruct” and “Selling Heaven” are by far the strongest; they give room for the vocals to actually fit in amongst the music slightly better than any others on the rest of the album in itself.

By far, AITTALA deserve some recognition however for the attitude they have and throw out in their music. As much as the record in itself isn’t doing much for me, I can imagine that live – these guys would knock your fluffy little socks off. How do I know that? Like I said, you can feel the attitude in the music and that’ll reflect in their performances making it a bit more epic than on a studio record.

In a sense, I’m disheartened that I’ve not given AITALLA a good review in a way – these are guys that seem to love their music just as much as you and me and put so much into “Effigy” however, it doesn’t mean their next release will be the same. Here’s hoping that these guys do a tour to show off what they really have going for them!

Reviewed by Heavy Metal Time Machine
May 18, 2014

No strangers to those of us here at Heavy Metal Time Machine, North Carolina-based metal act Aittala (so named because of the group's founder, sole consistent member and lead singer/guitarist Eric Aittala) was previously covered by Metal Mark in 2010 ( and 2011 ( Now, some three years since we last heard from the group thanks to their submission of "Haunt Your Flesh" (an album which, frankly speaking and all friends, seems to have drawn mixed reactions judging by the various online reviews I uncovered in preparation of this particular review) Aittala are back with their third full-length album since Eric formed the very first version of Aittala WAY back in 1992 while he was in Holland of all places! With a grand total of 10 tracks (seven brand new ones along with three "re-imagined" tracks from the group's 1993 demo, "Selling Heaven", with those being "Sinister as the Serpent", "Selling Heaven" and "Creators of Doom") album number three from Eric Aittala is a tale of two cites (so to speak). Before we delve into what works and what doesn't work though let me be perfectly clear about something. Despite looking over Metal Mark's past reviews for this NC (dangerous) metal outfit (and scanning numerous online sources for background information on this dark progressive, hard & heavy powerhouse) I walked into Aittala's presence with no pre-conceived notions whatsoever and without even a hint of prejudice. In my mind Aittala would either stand on their own two feet or fall over, track by track being the ultimate means of judgement placed upon this long-running heavy metal venture. Nothing more and nothing less folks as I let this LP unfold and I drifted into Eric's world of darkly-tinted heavy metal where he joins up with like-minded (highly-skilled) musicians in order to (hopefully) create an album worthy of recommendation. And speaking of musicians, here is how it all boils down:

Tracks 1 - 7 feature a line-up of:
Eric Aittala - vocals, guitars, keys
Randall Rhodes - bass, backing vocals
Gary 'Zeus' Smith - drums

Those particular tracks are as follows (with grades!): "Pigs" (A-), "Effigy" (A), "Russian Roulette" (A+), "Souvenirs" (A+), "Erased" (B+), "Deconstruct" (A+) and "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (A+).

Meanwhile tracks 8-10, which are the the re-worked/re-recorded tracks from the previously mentioned 1993 demo ("Sinister as the Serpent (2014)", "Selling Heaven (2014)" and "Creators of Doom (2014)"), have a line-up of:
Eric Aittala - vocals, guitars, keys
Jon Doe - bass
Ed Vereijken - drums
And their grades? "Sinister as the Serpent" would likely get a C-C+, "Selling Heaven" would get the same thing while "Creators of Doom" would get a B.

Of the two line-ups mentioned neither one really stands out from the other (in other words they are both more then fine in their own right) although (from those grades and all) the first lot of tracks honestly features better source material then the latter. Otherwise the skill-level of these musicians never comes into question. Everyone is spot on whether we are talking about string instruments of percussion. However the elephant in the room should be addressed. That would be Eric's voice. Far from being a bad lead singer, Eric simply has a style which is a bit one-designational in tone. Reminding me somewhat of a gruff Daron Malakian (System of a Down, Scars on Broadway), Eric sounds good on about half of these tracks while on the other half he just comes across as average. Is it enough of an issue to cause a distraction? Honestly no. It's merely that he seems to be a slightly average singer whose true skill lies in his song-writing ability and his guitar playing.
On paper it sounds like such a minor complaint especially when stacked up next to the powerful delivery of a number like "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (a dark thrash/pseudo industrial metal cruncher and the first single from "Effigy"). Especially as the powerful nature of many of these numbers is simply too good to be ignored! Besides "Something Wicked This Way Comes", the video of which can be seen here:, numbers like "Pigs"(a none-too subtle punch in the gut stomper!), thrash rocker "Effigy" and the slightly-progressive "Russian Roulette" ( A doom-laded Black Sabbath meets Merciful Fate, 70's fazed over hard & heavy rock and roll soul crusher? Sure!) are play-by-play examples of how to sit down, write-up and then brilliantly create songs that will stick in your memory long after a record ends!
Favorite moments here on "Effigy" then? Too many to count folks! "Souvenirs" for example brings to mind a slowed-down Slayer (and yes, that is f-in' wicked!) while "Deconstruct" is smashing industrial metal that would make Prong fans stand up and smile! And since Eric is equally adapt when it comes to heavy synth lines and keyboard passages as he is when it comes to razor-sharp riffs an album like "Effigy" covers a lot of territory!
Even the last three numbers here, which actually do help to show this band's evolution, can't disguise Eric's skill. Sure, they are a bit more vanilla then the new music (although "Creators of Doom (2014)" has a certain charm to it), but they still have an edge to them. While it would have been a bit more cool to see what Eric and company would have done with three additional new songs (since the growth, the leaps and bounds if you will, between album number two and album number three is nothing short of EPIC!) these re-imagined numbers wrap things up nicely.
So, what can one say about Aittala's "Effigy" then? High marks are awarded for the song-writing here and the performances. Oh, and it's production. Wow. Recorded at Incognito Studios, Raleigh NC Mixed and Mastered by Mike Schaefer at Schaefer Sound Productions (with Eric W. Aittala and Mike Schaefer co-producing the whole affair) this one sounds great! Total professional job all around with everything sounding damn near perfect! Everything falls smoothly into place with the overall effect being a clear and clean recording that is more modern then one might expect (given the furious nature of this beast!), but still a tease "shady" as to make this one seem a hair primal and underground.
There is plenty of variety (music-wise) with subtle shades of classic heavy metal, doom metal, progressive rock, dark metal, thrash, industrial metal and hard rock all coming into play. And more so it all gels in such a manor as to make the whole affair seem down-right natural! If you are looking for a heavy metal album that will keep you entertained and invested in the music at hand then this one would fit that bill. Pound for pound this one just does not disappoint! And at the end of the day eventually even Eric's voice blends into the mix. I can honestly say that having listened to "Effigy" about three times now the vocals seem like less of an issue with each new spin! Aittala might be slightly hindered by Eric's singing but there are so way too many positives about this recording that I'd be a fool to not suggest adding "Effigy" to ones collection!
"Effigy" shows how it's possible to explore different textures, add in elements from a variety of sources and still keep your sound grounded! You can find out more about Eric and his band over at Aittala's official website: or by stopping by the group's Facebook page ( for a visit. And be sure to keep an eye out for this monster when it drops on the 17th of June! If you're a fan of all things hard & heavy (especially dark-tinted metal bands that come packaged with an electrical charge!) then this really is one album that should be hunted down!