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Haunt Your Flesh
Released: 2011, Independent
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.
As I said at the top, HAUNT YOUR FLESH is an improvement in every way for Aittala: a step forward for the band, and enjoyable metal album in its own right.
4) Eternal Punishment
5) Human Waste
7) Haunt Your Flesh
8) New Day
Eric Aittala: Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Jeremy Prince: Drums
Marc Anthony: Drums
Randall Rhodes: Backing Vocals
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