Reviews of 'Effigy'
Reviewed by UberRocks.com
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
This is an actual print magazine from the UK. Here is the review transcribed:
Reviewed by Thoughts of Metal
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
With the influences of Metallica, Black Label Society and Iron Maiden evident in their music,
Reviewed by Metal Temple
“Pigs” kicks off “Effigy” immediately with a beautiful wall of bass, however, hopes are not to be heightened for this release sadly.
Reviewed by Heavy Metal Time Machine
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 (http://metalmark.blogspot.com/2010/04/aittala-bed-of-thorns.html) and 2011 (http://metalmark.blogspot.com/search?q=Aittala-Haunt+your+flesh+). 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:
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:
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.