ALBUM REVIEW – “Guilty Pleasure” by Attila

Everybody has their guilty pleasures when it comes to music. Whether it’s a taste for extra mature cheesy 80s glam rock or an uncanny enjoyment of the latest One Direction single, people do feel shame for liking some of the music they like, which is in of itself a shame, as one should be allowed to enjoy whatever they want free of repercussions from those who don’t think enjoying both Cannibal Corpse and Katy Perry is acceptable behaviour. That said, some guilty pleasures are more questionable than others.

Quite how Attila has become as popular as they are remains a mystery to the vast majority of modern metal aficionados. Historically seemingly incapable of writing songs that aren’t rooted in one note breakdowns and tired Warped-core clichés, it’s their lyrical content that’s made them the consul of the Controversial Rock Republic alongside Emmure. Frontman Chris ‘Fronz’ Fronzak has made a career out of talking (and screaming) without engaging his brain, and the band’s dubiously titled latest release Guilty Pleasure only perpetuates the trend. ‘Pizza, Sex and Trolls’ isn’t only the first song title; it’s also, in ascending order of importance, an effective summary of the entire record’s subject matter. It doesn’t take in depth analysis to realise that this is really not a good thing.

For much of the record’s 38-minute runtime, the listener is subjected to claims that those who dislike Fronz’s band will have either their, or their mother’s, or indeed the entire world’s personal space invaded by his genitalia. Used as a punch line once it might possibly have been funny; done repeatedly as it is, it’s a grotesque experience. The braggadocio is so extreme it loses any menace it could have held, but lacks the variety or tact to be funny, and that nearly the whole record is dedicated to attacking those who slam the band shows just how little Attila have to say. When first single ‘Proving Grounds’ asks “who’s the faggot now?”, the fighting of homophobic fire with fire is simply ridiculous and one of the dumbest hooks anyone can ever have written.

Attempts to defend the band will invariably centre on the fact that they’re ‘not taking themselves seriously’, but there’s a fine line between not taking oneself seriously and creating immature, indelicate drivel. Attila can’t even see the line. It doesn’t help that as well as his grotesque lyrical content Fronz is also a sub-par vocalist, his most entertaining technique an uncanny impression of Sheen from Nickelodeon’s Jimmy Neutron. A band with a frontman as overconfident and under skilled as he doesn’t stand a chance at making something more people will love than hate.

This is made all the more disappointing by the fact that Guilty Pleasure is musically a step up from previous efforts. The ham fisted breakdowns remain in abundance, but the drumming is high energy and enjoyable and ‘Fake Friends’ and ‘Break My Addiction’ actually include memorable riffs. ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ is probably the best song the band has ever written, dipping into the cock rock-goes-metalcore of Asking Alexandria’s later material complete with a surprisingly killer guitar solo. Throw in Fronz at his least intolerable (i.e. mildly irritating rather than unlistenable) and you have a flash of potential in amongst the nauseating sea of sonic vacuousness that makes up the bulk of the album.

Party metalcore as a style can be done very, very well – Upon a Burning Body just proved that with their ludicrously fun cover of ‘Turn Down for What’. Attila’s music simply isn’t interesting or entertaining enough to break them out of the rut they’ve sat in their entire careers, and are saddled with a vocalist with nothing valuable to say and a thoroughly distasteful sense of humour. Guilty Pleasure will be anything but pleasurable for the vast majority of listeners. If you need to scare Gothic tribes out of their homelands, this album would be perfect; otherwise, don’t bother.

Rating: 2 / 10

Michael Bird

‘Proving Grounds’



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