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.
- Eternal Punishment
- Human Waste
- Haunt Your Flesh
- New Day
Eric Aittala – vocals, guitar
Randall – bass
Jeremy – drums