From Raleigh, North Carolina, Aittala is the creation of guitarist and composer Eric Aittala. He's been at this gig since 1992, but only started cutting full-length albums beginning in 2009 with Bed Of Thorns with two more following, all independently released. He returns with his fourth album American Nightmare.
It's not difficult to pin down Aittala's heavy metal sound. I'm thinking some classic heavy metal like Black Sabbath and then mid-period Metallica, all washed through down-tuned grunge (he started in 1992 after all), with maybe some a stoner or doom metal vibe dropped in. Aittala's compositions are heavy with large thick riffage and an equally thick bottom end. After this he fills his songs with satisfying traditional, sometimes neo-classical, leads.
As a vocalist, Aittala sings clean with melody and significant control. I didn't hear him go screamo on any occasion. Actually, sometimes, like the timbre of riffage, he has both a monotone and memorable quality to his voice. In this combination, and not having heard previous albums, I'm guessing Aittala pretty much sounds the same across said albums. Say what you will, that's not necessarily redundancy, but rather consistency. Essentially, Mr Aittala has branded himself and his sound. Yet the real kicker about the Aittala sound is that, amidst the heavier heavy metal, he weaves in a strong groove that easily draws from Seventies heavy rock.
Considering the songs within, most fit the aforementioned description being heavy, groovy, and fired up with flashy leads. Yet two songs caught my attention as the swerved away from that motif. One was Forgot, something of a metal ballad, and laced with acoustic guitar, it has a bit of sweeter sound. Another song of interest is Incognito. Once more acoustic guitar leads before the riffs come in, yet the bass line also rises to lead as well. And Aittala's fine solo in the latter third provides the crowning moment.
Suffice to say I liked what I heard, though I don't know if, after this review is published, American Nightmare will stay in some current rotation at Dangerdog HQ. (With all the stuff pitched to me, nothing stays in rotation very long anyway.) No matter, you should definitely check out Aittala, you might like what your hear too. Recommended.
Drawing from a bevy roots and influences, Aittala and American Nightmare offer an interesting twist with their heavier and melodic groove metal.
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