Label: Artery/Razor & Tie
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Atlanta’s foremost deathcore “party metal” band Attila is back with bigger attitudes, egos, bank accounts and a new CD titled About That Life. Attila, whose name, fittingly enough, was inspired by the villainous ruler Attila the Hun, began reeking-havoc on society in 2005 after being formed by highschool friends Chris “Fronz” Fronzak, Sean Heenan, Sam Halcomb, Kris Wilson and Matt Booth. The band’s lineup has changed since that time with vocalist Chris Fronzak and drummer Sean Heenan being the only two remaining original members. Guitarists Chris Linck and Nate Salameh joined Attila in 2008 after the departures of Booth and Wilson in 2007. Halcomb left the band the band in 2008 and was replaced by Paul Ollinger. Ollinger left the band in 2010 and was replaced by Chris Comrie. Comrie left the band in 2012 and was replaced by the band’s current bassist, Kalan Blehm.
About That Life is the fifth studio album from Attila. The band previously released two albums on the Statik Factory label, 2007’s Fallacy and 2008’s Soundtrack to a Party before signing a deal in 2010 with their current label Artery Recordings/Razor & Tie. After signing Attila released Rage that same year and Outlawed in 2011. Rage is considered by some Attila fans to be the best CD in the band’s catalog with Outlawed a close second. Their latest release About That Life is a bit of a departure from Rage and Outlawed. Although About That Life and Outlawed were both produced by Joey Sturgis, there is a noticeable amount of sound/style changes on the current CD. Attila has generally been considered a deathcore metal band, but they have definitely strayed into the metalcore world with About That Life and I am curious if this change will alienate the hard deathcore Attila fanatics.
I saw Attila live on the 2012 Monster Energy Outbreak Tour. Chris Fronzak fronted not only Attila, but also filled in on a few songs for headliners Asking Alexandria due to AA singer Danny Worsnop’s vocal injury. I was intrigued by Fronz’s stage presence and also by a new song they played off of the yet to be released About That Life called “Party with the Devil.” I really enjoyed this song, so I was looking forward to hearing the CD and what Attila had in store for their listeners.
I usually do a more in-depth track by track rundown when I review an album, but I am not sure I can do so with About That Life. I have listened to this CD a number of times and although it is not horrific, there are several songs that sound extremely similar and it is hard to differentiate one from the next. So I am just going to cover what I consider the highlights and things I find relevant for reviewing purposes.
The first track is called “Middle Fingers Up” and starts off with Fronz rapping and beat boxing. After the beating of the box this song moves into a nice, albeit repetitive, groove rhythm and beat. Something catches my attention pretty quickly, surprisingly it reminds me of Asking Alexandria. Throughout About That Life it is apparent that it was heavily influenced by AA’s sound and more specifically by the vocal style of Danny Worsnop. Worsnop’s sound is pretty recognizable to me because I am a fan of Asking Alexandria and Fronz has included the key and octave changes that are very specific to Worsnop. The vocal style is not easy to describe, but when you hear it, you know it. Fronz is no Danny Worsnop, but I do love Asking Alexandria, so I have no problem with this new musical approach from Attila.
The next song is “Hellraiser”, and I was caught off guard because the song has Nickelback guitar riffs, vocals that the sound like Hellyeah blended with Asking Alexandria. Now put that description in your pipe and smoke it. It also has a familiar sounding breakdown, which I can’t quite put my finger on, but overall “Hellraiser” is pretty generic.
Track 3 is “Rageaholics” and the best thing about this song is a pretty sweet sounding bridge and some great drum parts. The song also has a decent guitar solo even though I prefer the pitch lower. Next we have “Backtalk” which kind of reminds me of “Payback” off of the CD Outlawed. “Backtalk” has vocal gruffness that is carried by a melodic undercurrent and for some reason, the song just feels naughty, I don’t mind naughty. I like it. Then there is track 5; “Leave a Message”, which is basically someone leaving a message on Chris Fronzak’s answering machine, that’s it.
Next you begin to hear Fronzak’s lyrical stylings telling you he is “…a bad motherfucker not a fucking role model” and to “fuck church, hit a bong, then go smash a fucking bottle.” That he has “got a few sluts to help me roll a few blunts and they never question me ‘cause they know I hate cunts.…” You have now reached the album’s title track, “About That Life.” This is a completely vulgar song and vulgarity aside it is one of the stronger tracks on the CD. Hell, it even mentions Playstation and I totally dig Playstation, so “I guess I’m really just about that life….”
“Thug Life” has a decent beat and the vocals have a glimpse of the original Attila style mixed with Fronz’s new vocal approach. The pace of this song is a bit slower and taking the album as a whole, slower is a welcomed change.
The next track, “Break Shit” has a decent hook and breakdown, but those are about the only things holding this song up. Attila released a video for the song and what can I say, it is a bunch of scantily clad women given a gentleman a lap dance. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a skillful lap dance, but this video was a bit much for me and that is saying something. The video is explicit and definitely NSFW.
“Gimmicks and Lie$” begins with a surprisingly nice electronica intro, so I was titillated with the sound of something different than the previous 8 tracks. I was intrigued way too soon because within a little over a minute it was over and it transitions immediately to the song “Callout” and more of Fronz beat boxing. The song carries the theme from the previous track with lyrics about how the “[music] scene is plagued with fucking gimmicks and lies….” Not my favorite track by a long shot, but it does have a decent sounding chorus and it has some valid points about “haters” and the insincerity found in the music business. The song ends with and invitation by Chris Fronzak to WestboroBasptistChurch to “fuck you too, come and protest this dick f******.” The church did respond by saying they would come to an Attila show and indeed protest his dick.
Next we have “Unforgiveable” and it is among the songs that I actually like, because it is one of the few songs that doesn’t sound like a continuation of every other song on the CD. It has an Asking Alexandria vibe through the chorus, but still has the essence of old school Attila. Track 12 is the uninspiring song, “Shots for the Boys,” and I was starting to think I was going to need a shot to make it through the end of this track, not my favorite.
Finally, we get to track 13 which is the complete and utterly bad ass song “Party with the Devil.” I love this song and it was one of the major reasons I was looking forward to About That Life. Live, this song has a life of its own and it just sounds fucking great. It has an outstanding beat, the vocal arrangement is spot on, the song hits hard and the hook is just plain boss. This is an awesome song that actually sounds like Attila, just a new an improved Attila.
The last song on the CD is “The New Kings” and I love this track as well. It starts off feeling like a soft electronic song but then opens up and takes off with Fronzak’s hard edge vocals. It is not cookie cutter and it stands apart from all the other tracks with its unique vibe. Like “Party with the Devil” this song sounds like Attila, just musically inspiring and improved.
How do you sum up About That Life? This CD is about partying, smoking pot, banging chicks, womanizing, hatin’, calling people out, instructions regarding numerous ways to suck things, etc. The word fuck is extremely prevalent on this album along with any number of other various obscenities, so delicate ears should stay far away from Attila. My ears are nowhere near virgin, so I can take vulgar and obscene, but it was almost too much even for this seasoned metal chicka.
About That Life will enrage some Attila fans, especially with the rap style beat boxing and the addition of the metalcore Asking Alexandria inspired sound. The CD does however have some very deathcore metal moments made for moshing, so that should soothe some of those disenchanted hardcore fans. I am sure there will also be those Attila fans that will totally embrace this new direction and defend Fronz intensely, metalcore, rap or not. I do believe that the addition of the metalcore genre sound will attract more ladies. I fear however the womanizing, excessive crudeness, “suck my dick” “fuck this shit” style of music that Attila prides themselves on, could unfortunately turn those new potential fans off.
About that Life has several songs that rate from good to great. It also has many songs that are average to below average. This CD is in serious need of some smooth track transitions because it just does not flow as well as it should have. The song writing and musicianship could use some variety, maturity and focus. In my opinion, with some lyrical upgrades, better sound development, enhanced mixing and production values About That Life could have been a far superior product than what it turned out to be.
I believe this album will receive some harsh reviews and fans will debate the quality of the songs on About That Life. Do I think that Chris Fronzak cares about what others think, bad reviews, or how anyone feels about the offensive lyrics? No, I don’t think he cares in the least and he would just tell them all, “…if you get offended, fuck you, suck my dick.” So is Fronzak a party madman or a genius? Is he ill-advised, nonsensical or simply a Svengali? Who knows, but somehow I think Fronzilla might just get the last laugh in the end, all the way to the bank, bitch.
This CD perplexes me, because I see and hear the potential of what it might have been. There are a few killer tracks on this album, but it lacks the cohesion needed to pull the whole thing together. Sadly, the problem is that there are so many cracks in the album’s infrastructure that could have been repaired, but weren’t. So I give About That Life 5 out of 10 stars, it could have been better but it certainly could have been worse, suck my fuck.
You can purchase About That Life at Best Buy, Hot Topic, fye and iTunes http://bit.ly/ATTILAiTunes
- Middle Fingers Up
- Leave a Message
- About That Life
- Thug Life
- Break Shit
- Gimmicks and Lie$
- Shots for the Boys
- Party with the Devil
- The New Kings
Attila 2013 Tour Dates
7/5 – Vans Warped Tour, Toronto, Canada
7/6 – Van’s Warped Tour, Darien Center, NY
7/7 – Vans Warped Tour, Holmdel, NJ
7/8 – Kingdom, Richmond, VA
7/9 – Vans Warped Tour, Virginia Beach, VA
7/10 – Vans Warped Tour, Columbia, MD
7/11 – Vans Warped Tour, Boston, MA
8/9 – Hot Damn Road Trip, Wollongong, Australia
8/10 – Loudfest, Brisbane, Australia
8/10 – Thriller, Brisbane, Australia
8/11 – The Factory , Hellions Sydney, Australia
8/13 – The Basement, Canberra, Australia
8/14 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, Australia
8/15 – Next, Melbourne, Australia
8/16 – Mordiallic Metal and Hardcore Fest, Mordialloc, Australia
8/17 – Metal & Hardcore Fest, Mordialloc, Australia
8/18 – Fowlers Live, Adelaide, Australia