Reviews of 'Haunt Your Flesh'
Reviewed by Thoughts of Metal
AITTALA is an American band, formed by vocalist/guitarist Eric Aittala when he was in The Netherlands in 1992. With the help of musicians there he could perform several gigs, also sharing the stage with THE GATHERING and SADIST. The band released a 3-track demo “Selling Heaven” (1993), which led to the aforementioned stage sharing. But as the name was being sprad in the Dutch underground Metal scene, Eric left and went back to the States. It took him many years and other activities to refocus on his own band, AITTALA. This led in 2009 to the first full-length, “Bed Of Thorns”. The album is said to be a deep, dark look into the (in)human condition and Eric’s psyche. While the songs are guitar heavy, the album is more experimental and keyboard-laden. I can’t confirm this, as it’s the band’s second full-length, “Haunt Your Flesh”, released in June 2011, that is the first I hear about AITTALA.
Currently, Eric is assisted by Gary Smith on drums and Brandon Arrington on bass, as the previous rhythm section, Jeremy (drums) and Randall (bass), left due to other obligations. But back to the music that can be found on “Haunt Your Flesh”, which is said to be a ten song, guitar-driven journey that explore themes of tormented lives, Armageddon, control and redemption.
It begins with “Blackmail”. The start of it reminded me of METALLICA’s “Some King Of Monster”. Full rocking action kicks in afterwards with midtempo grooving that bridges the gap with the verses. This part sounds somehow like SANDSTONE meets THIN LIZZY (vocally). The chorus also rocks, but has a bigger melodic input. The drum pattern remains unchanged. The focus, as said above, lies on the guitar. Next to the slide solo, there’s also an organ solo. All in all a very good start. “Holocaust” kicks in with a groovy, pounding intro, building towards the verses. Overall this song is firmer than the first one, it’s got more drive. The verses are clean, dark and mysterious somehow. The Metal comes in with an burst, in the second instant. After the groovy chorus a rhythmic transition takes place, into a dark bridge that contains a screamy solo. After this sidestep, it’s back to business.
“Eden” is an acoustic ballad with soft singing. Not bad, but nothing super either, to be honest. “Eternal Punishment” begins like a space invasion, going into a midtempo groovy rocker of a song. The vocals are clean and well done, while the music has a nice rhythm. The solo is set halfway, as seems to be the general recipe for each song. “Human Waste” also has groove, but adds a touch of Bluesiness. It’s got the typical rhythm, though with a dark sound. It’s a simple song, overall, with clean singing and a melodic chorus, here especially because of the vocals. The solo again serves to break the song into two. The piano and theatrical singing are key ingredients in “Damned”. The guitar solo and full instrumentation only come in near the end, the last part of the song. There’s also room for a synth solo. All in all, this could have been a SAVATAGE song. Which is good, of course.
The title track takes a melodic start, in a semi-acoustic fasion. This flows over into a midtempo rocker with an easy rhythm. The contrast is created by adding a pounding, fast chorus. Over halfway the semi-acoustic pattern returns together with a solemn solo. “New Day” is another acoustic track, slow and feels like a power ballad. This is followed by “Juliet”, where electronic drums and a dark, gloomy and haunting (via a.o. the harpsichord) atmosphere dominate. Despite this negative and depressing mood, the song does have nice melodies. It sounds a bit Gothic, New Wave. One example is the Norwegian band ELUSIVE. The album ends with the acoustic instrumental called “Remember”. A good song, but no highlight.
AITTALA is a new band for me and I have to admit it was a pleasant experience. Eric and co. present on their second album, “Haunt Your Flesh”, a nice mix of Groovy Rock, Heavy and Power Metal. And the small Industrial influence. Or in terms of bands: THIN LIZZY meets SANDSTONE meets (late) SAVATAGE meets METALLICA (the black album era) meets (add a band). Or in short, Eric Aittala can be proud of this release. Anyone having a taste for the aforementioned can safely buy this album.
Reviewed by Metal Underground
It feels like a little bit of a contradiction to praise a heavy metal act for lightening up, but that's just what makes "Haunt Your Flesh" such an improvement over Aittala's first album, "Bed Of Thorns." Oh, to be sure, Eric Aittala's still singing about doomy topics ranging from sadomasochistic sex to suicide and the apocalypse, but he's mostly abandoned the goth-kid mopey tone that dominated "Bed Of Thorns."
It doesn't hurt that his songwriting and playing is even sharper on the instrumental side of the equation. It's a little difficult to quantify where this album falls genre-wise, with tracks like the excellent opener, "Blackmail," and the title track, "Haunt Your Flesh," occupying a space somewhere between Sabbath-style doom and more modern hard rock, while the disc's most disturbing track, an ode from a "demented Romeo" to a soon-to-be-dead "Juliet," has a Nine Inch Nails feel. The disc's best track, "Eternal Punishment," has a thrash vibe to it.
Aittala's vocals are adequate to the task at hand, though he often relies on a talk-singing style that — like on "Bed Of Thorns" — makes the vocal lines on tracks like "Holocaust" and parts of the title track, "Haunt Your Flesh" feel completely interchangeable. Still, the excellent instrumentation on both tracks is almost enough to make up for that.
Aittala's work on the quieter side, with gentle appropriately elegaic piano and guitar on "New Day," which finds a despairing young girl clutching a teddy bear and looking for a way out. An earlier track on the album, "Eden," features similar instrumentation and subject matter, but feels a little less urgent. The best acoustic work, though, comes on the closer, "Remember."
There are a couple of clunkers to be had here, though. Disturbing though "Juliet" may be, it doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album. "Damned" is damned by lyrics that rely a little too much on cliches (in the chorus Aittala asks "What is the choice between the lesser of two evils" before concluding that he's "damned if I do and damned if I don't"). It's also one ballad too many on an album with plenty to spare (though it does have a nice guitar break).
There's plenty of material on Aittala's "Haunt Your Flesh" that will get under your skin. Yeah, Eric Aittala's still a little too reliant on talk-singing vocals, and there are too many ballads, but the disc is still a big improvement over "Bed Of Thorns."
Highs: "Blackmail," "Eternal Punishment" and "Remember."
Reviewed by Raise Thy Horns
Aittala is a pretty enjoyable one-man prog/power metal dynamo from North Carolina in the United States. Aside from the cover, which looks like some kind of cracked-out combination of Alice in Chains' Facelift and Dream Theater's When Dream and Day Unite, the guy can really put together some quality material. Granted, it's not what I would call technically amazing or groundbreaking in terms of songwriting and musicianship, but Aittala will rock your face off. I don't really agree with the notion of calling this "power metal" or "progressive" since it's more along the lines of traditional, rockin' heavy metal.
The production is actually pretty flawless. Every instrument shines through in the mix with the utmost punch and clarity which makes simply hearing the album quite a joy. The guitar tone is thick and crunchy, but it's not over-the-top to the point where you lose any note quality in the chords. Since a lot of the riffing is detuned and really low, this is one attribute that you have to appreciate. A lot of today's bands that rely on extremely low detuning still slather on ridiculous amounts of gain and everything becomes a muddled mess. Eric Aittala has found a good mix of depth and tone quality, and it makes the sound of this album pretty pristine.
Haunt Your Flesh features some seriously catchy tracks that I find myself coming back to. The opener, "Blackmail," is a terrific fist-pumper that you'll be singing along with in no time. Same thing goes for "Eternal Punishment" or "Human Waste." Aittala knows what he does well, and he does it. He never attempts anything ambitiously fast or technically challenging, and the result is a groovy, enjoyable album. The guy is a clearly talented guitarist, but his soloing stays within the realms of melodic and tasteful.
There are really only a couple of nit-picky issues I have with the album that hold it back from being really great. First of all, the keyboard solos I could do without. They aren't fantastic by any means, and they come off as a little distracting, especially after a nice tasty guitar solo. I would much rather hear more guitar leading or riffing as opposed to so-so keyboard work. Bands like Dream Theater, Children of Bodom, and Sonata Arctica can get away with extending leads to include keyboards because the guys playing those leads are incredible players and it's a strength of the band. Eric Aittala's obvious strength is his guitar, so I feel like the keyboard needs to stay on the shelf to cater to the guitar.
Also, I wish that the guy would try to employ a better vocalist. I understand he's doing everything he can on the album anyway, but he's not the type of singer that this kind of songwriting needs. They just need a lot more power and varied dynamics. Most of the tracks are just begging for some bombastic soaring vocals to fit atop the killer riffs, but it's just the same tones in the same register. The only other real negative I have with the album is the inclusion of a few too many ballad-type tracks. They aren't bad at all. In fact, most of them are quite good, but I just really enjoy the all-out heavy metal anthems you find on this album. If you like no-nonsense catchy, groovy heavy metal, you really can't go wrong with Aittala. I really hope Eric forms a full band around him to take this thing to the next level
Reviewed by Metal Temple
Y’know how sometimes you feel like you’ve already heard everything there is to hear? Then when you hear a new band you end up judging them compared to other bands that do the exact same thing? So when you hear something unique, it takes you a while to decide if it’s cool or not… Anyway, that’s how I felt listening to AITTALA. This band has a different sound, and after a second listen, I’ve finally decided; it’s cool.
Now, the band’s new album ' Haunt Your Flesh' has its peaks and valleys, and I can say it’s that great all the way through. I can, however, say that their sound is unique enough, and select tracks are cool enough to get a “Thumbs Up” from me anyway. I think Metal fans should check this band out. Eric Aittala’s guitar riffs are excellent, and they really hold the rest of the music up very well. His vocals, on the other hand, are sometimes monotone and hard to get into. There are points though, where his style actually works very well. As for the bass and drums; as with most Metal, it isn’t really noticeable. So it’s not much to complain about, nor praise.
I would describe them as an eclectic Doom Metal band, although their sound is a bit tough to define. That’s ultimately a good thing though, and I enjoy the refreshment of something different. My only major complaint is that on some songs, the vocals and lyrics are so drawn out that they become a little boring and you end up waiting a bit for something cool to happen. The good news is something cool usually does end up happening.
Bands like this need some love, because there are far too many bands (especially here in the United States) who go around claiming to be the most unique band out there and talk about how awesome they are. Usually they’re just a bunch of boners who think they sound a thousand times better than they actually do. AITTALA on the other hand, is a truly original band, and yet they appear to keep a pretty modest attitude about it.
I really liked the song ' Juliet', as it is the most different track on the album and tells a trippy little story that keeps me interested. I always like it when bands can switch things up like that to keep the listeners’ attention in a clever way. I also dug “Human Waste” for its killer riffs, and the fact that it reminds me of GWAR in a few spots.
I say check out the album’s single ' Holocaust', and if you dig it; definitely get the album and check the rest of it out. Then show it to your friends and tell them to do the same thing. The Metal scene is really weak right now when it comes to originality, and bands like this should be heard more often. Hopefully, AITTALA improves the few lacking qualities in their sound, and we may be looking at a very interesting band in the future.
From Metal Delirium
Whew let mew start of by saying this is not the same band as the shitcore band “Attila” because they fucking suck. But in fact, AITTALA fucking RIP. This is one of the albums that we were emailed that I lost in the shuffle of other albums, news, and miscellaneous emails. Well, while we were working on the Standing Stout compilation I was reunited with this album. I think it’s about time I say a few words about it, don’t ya think? I liked the album, “Haunt Your Flesh” some months ago when I first heard it, but again it just got lost in the shuffle.
Reviewed by Heavy Metal Time Machine
Aittala is the project of songwriter/musician Eric Aittala. I remember hearing Aittala's previous album "Bed of thorns" last year. It had promise, but there were clunky parts and a very rough production.
Reviewed by metalrules.com
Aittala is the musical domain of one Eric Aittala, American metalhead and multi-instrumentalist (see the album credits). I reviewed his first release in 2010, the somewhat underwhelming BED OF THORNS (I gave it 2/5). Claiming an array of standard heavy metal influences (Sabbath, Priest, Maiden etc.), the album was a bit of a slog, even if Aittala’s unique vocals and guitar skills managed to shine through. Further, aside from some misguided inclusions of electronics, some of the music was pretty darn good.
Obviously the man is back, now with his second album, HAUNT YOUR FLESH, and, despite my criticism of his first album, I was very curious to hear what Mr. Aittala had up his sleeve this time around. I’m pleased to say that, while not perfect, Aittala’s second offering is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. The production is clear and strong and Aittala’s vocals, while not technically great like a Halford or Dio, do have a distinctive strength that makes them instantly identifiable. As for the music, it is also much improved. He’s played to his strengths and ditched the aimless industrial leanings and just focused on writing good, solid hard rock/heavy metal songs. On BED OF THORNS, I felt that the best moments were the quieter, more brooding songs, and the same holds true here as tracks like the slow and creepy “Eden” make instant, lasting impressions. However, unlike the last album, the heavy songs are very strong as well. “Eternal Punishment” bears a stomping riff that will stick in your head, as does the catchy “Human Waste”. All told, while some songs are better than others, there aren’t any that I would call filler.
One thing that bothers me about Aittala’s work
is the lyrics, which occasionally come off as arm-cuttingly emo. However,
it’s admittedly less of an issue on this album. Besides, after
two albums I have to assume that it’s simply his lyrical style
and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Reviewed by metallattorney.blogspot.com
I was recently contacted by Eric Aittala via email who requested me to review his band's newest release Haunt Your Flesh. I chose not to do much research on the band prior to hearing it for the first time so that everything would be new.
To begin with, the music does not really match the dark and disturbing album cover, but that is not a problem. The music is much more on the traditional and progressive side of heavy metal and hard rock. So I was a little bit surprised by that at first. Again, certainly not a problem.
This is a very dynamic and versatile album musically. Eric Aittala appears to be the only member of the band, tackling all of the vocals and music, except perhaps the drums. He does not seem to like to sit still in one style for very long either. Pigeonholing the Aittala sound is extraordinarily difficult because each song is unique. At times it sounds like later-era Iced Earth with Barlow on vocals, at times it sounds like a less angry Pantera, and a whole lot in between.
Aittala is a very impressive musician with a strong melodic sensibility. He writes some pretty good riffs and solos and some damn catchy songs. Keyboards are used to good effect in backing up the music and the occasional solo. The keyboards are not overdone, which is good. His lyrical style is mostly designed to tell a story in each song.
As mentioned, this album runs the gamut, from hauntingly beautiful piece "Eden" to the aggressive riff-laden "Holocaust". "Juliet" is particularly noteworthy and is a spine-chilling power ballad. Each song is unique making this a complete album, rather than just a collection of songs.
Eric Aittala is a very impressive multi-instrumentalist forging his own path. This is his second full-length album and the guy definitely deserves a look.
Reviewed by T
of Sanity Publications
Sitting hear listening to the needle drop on the new Aittala CD entitled Haunt Your Flesh. The CD contains 10 newly recorded tracks by singer/song writer Eric Aittala.
Blackmail actually starts out with the sound of a needle hitting a record. The title of the song completely expresses what is lyrically being conveyed to the listener. The crunchiness of the guitars and the under lying rhythm give the song that feeling of doom while being blackmailed.
Holocaust has a great mesmerizing riff. Lyrically it is about the emptiness one feels in life while working for the corporation. The backbone of this song again is the rhythm. The imminent doom of such a meaningless life is truly felt in that rhythm. “The living dead march to their holocaust.” The haunting vocals on the fourth verse is perfect and felt in your soul.
Eden has one of the greatest sounds of lost hope and death. The choruses are amazing:
she touched desire
she touched desire
The acoustic guitar brings a true feeling of the lose. Eric’s vocals are equally loving and haunting...
Eternal Punishment opens with the awesome sound of sorcery. The riff is heavy. Lyrically the song touches upon the hidden consequences of controlling your pain by darker means. The guitar solo is demonic giving the song an even darker feel. my favorite lyric is “Where were you my father when I needed you to save me?” PERFECT
Human Waste continues with that amazing heavy feel of a new riff. Again, the rhythm adds so much feeling to yet another great song. Lyrically Eric revisits the feeling of a meaningless life and job. “no one remembers you when its time and you’re erased, a disposable soul, nothing more than human waste.” The song also has a great little bass solo reminiscent of old Megadeth.
Damned again shows the equally loving and haunting sound of Eric’s voice. The song is about the catch 22 of making a decision. Asking the question of how to end your struggles by chatting with the Angels and the Devil. The piano and the guitar solo completely complement one another. The sound is both Angelic and Demonic.
Haunt Your Flesh is the title track. The song has been around for many years. There has been quite a few different recorded versions of the song. This one is by far my favorite even though the vocals are not mine any longer. Lyrically the song is dark and stays dark. The double bass drums are an awesome sound. The guitar has always had that haunting and aggressive sound.
New Day starts with a quiet beautiful sound. The song truly touches
this writer since the subject matter touches home. “if you can’t
find your happiness why go on at all?”
and all she wants is to be loved
In the end she sadly or happily finds her new day. Musically the song is a beautiful combination of quietness and loudness. The struggle between all the instruments to find their place...
Juliet starts so fucking awesome! The darkness of both music and lyrics bring this song to perfection! The whining guitar enters your senses with an eerie melodic seduction. The sound of the harpsichord brings out the darkness reminiscent of Mozart or Beethoven. Juliet has to be one of the greatest songs written by Eric. It’s so seductive and orchestrated to perfection.Remember is a perfect slow beautiful song to end Haunt Your Flesh. The vocals and lyrics are the song. He just wants you to remember him...
Overall, Haunt Your Flesh is an excellent CD. It has all the components that a true music fan will appreciate, especially a heavy metal fan. There is both beauty and darkness abound. I find myself drawn to both which gives me the perfect insight...
You can learn more about Haunt Your Flesh and Aittala’s first CD, Bed Of Thorns, at www.aittala.net
AITTALA Haunt Your Flesh
N.C. multi-talented rocker Eric Aittala is not a new name to fans across the Southeast who have seen him shred guitar licks with a few now dissolved bands that slugged it out on the circuit in the late 90's/early 2000's. It would seem, however, that many have yet to get the formal introduction to his eponymous solo band which has been turning critics’ heads since 2009 with the release of the dark and brooding Bed Of Thorns. Call it lack of marketing, management, state of the industry or all of the above, but it’s as criminal as our political system! With the release of Haunt Your Flesh, Eric is poised to capture his audience with some of the blackest doom and despair to hit ears since Type O-Negative.
Right off the bat, Aittala picks up where he left off on …Thorns by blasting straight into one of the album’s heaviest riffs in the lead-off track, “Blackmail”. Metal fans will be very pleased to hear that he’s still retained his energy, even though Eric admittedly loves to fuck with your senses in the very dirty, dragging and sludgy numbers, which…wait for it….are definitely present on Haunt Your Flesh! The first one necessary to put on the autopsy table is certainly “Damned”. Sounding like something that the late Peter Steele was involved in while listening to a copy of the tragically passed-over ’81 KISS classic The Elder, this one is a true standout moment for me. Aiming straight for any unprotected area, the track will find many with the listener due to its seemingly innocent delivery. Anytime the band drop tunes and slows the tempo down, the listener feels an uneasy sense of safety, but trust me, this song will leave you feeling completely drained and eerily violated with visions so masterfully black and endless that you might easily question your sanity in understanding its content. This must be what Hell feels like, ladies and gentlemen. Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie would be proud, even though it sounds nothing like what they’d have ever done. “Juliet” gets my vote for the second sickest number on this montage, and with good reason…it could have been on the original Soundtrack for The Exorcist, or better yet, I know Alice would have chewed through an upper vertebrae to have this on Welcome To My Nightmare.
The album’s most musically diverse tune comes in the way of the closing track, “Remember”. A totally haunting tune, yet filled with that Vampire love story stuff that seems to be popular these days, this one will probably become a fan favorite immediately. Eric’s acoustic guitar work is simply poetry and his lyrics are psychotic-by-way-of-necessity enough to put it across perfectly. With only one dud in the lot (not a fan of “Holocaust”), this is truly an album that deserves your attention if you’re tired of listening to bullshit, sugar-coated scenarios that don’t and never did exist in a world where we find more time to analyze and blame unseen terror…when the real culprit is staring us straight in the face! Head over to http://www.Aittala.net for details on the album’s release and to pick up a copy of his stellar debut. Very, Very Highly Recommended!!!
06 June 2011 by Bam-Bam