Back when I was a snot-nosed awkward teenager, the combination of metal and rap music held an alluring appeal. The sonic assault of the two most aggressive forms of music…COMBINED? Hell yeah, sign me up! Groups like Body Count, E. Town Concrete, Downset, and even these local legends were some of my favorite groups to listen to. Even the perennially hated-on Limp Bizkit would prove to be highly influential to the metal scene in the years to come.
Fast forward to (almost) 2015. One of the most talked about groups in the scene, Attila, takes the basic nu-metal approach and injects it with enough steroids and swagger to give them a sound entirely their own. Chris “Fronz” Fronzak, the vocalist, is certainly not the best rapper, nor does he have the best gutturals. But he does each surprisingly well, and is best when he appropiates a Johnny Rotten-esque sneer, such as on the chorus on the song “Rebel”.
The first single “Proving Grounds” is highly influenced (whether they would admit it or not) from Emmure, especially the spoken word parts where Fronz is a dead ringer for Frankie Palmeri, and the bouncy one note palm-muted riffs on the chorus. Either way, it is catchy enough, with the typical bigotry and antisocial posturing that Attila is known for. The best song on the album is certainly “Rebel”, which has some Iron Maiden-esque twin guitar leads (!) and is as catchy as it is aggressive.
It is this posturing that permeates most of the album. Except for songs like “Break My Addiction” and “I’ve Got Your Back” where Fronzak takes a more lyrically empathetic stance, the album is a giant middle finger to authority figures, the internet website comment culture, lazy people, haters, negative people, and everyone in between. The formula works well because of the music behind the lyrics, which is heavy as all holy hell with just enough surprises to keep the listener engaged.
I may be a typical father, husband, and family man nowadays, but that antisocial snot-nosed teenager will always (hopefully?) live on inside of me. It’s that part of me that appreciates what Attila does, and listening to them is no “guilty pleasure”, as they have certainly crafted a good album here. If you hated them before, they just might change your mind on Guilty Pleasure. If you liked them or were on the fence as I was, then this album should have your head nodding in no time.