ReviewEric Aittala contacted me with a review copy of his one-man-band's sophomore album, Haunt Your Flesh. He does everything in this band, although it seems the drummer is uncredited (to my knowledge).
As Metallattorney observed, this album is unique. If you're tired of hearing the same thing over and over, it's a welcome respite. Even with its unique identity, the influences are clear: Aittala has probably given intense study to the playing techniques of Jon Schaffer, Jeff Loomis, and Jerry Cantrell. He even uses the word "sanctuary" in "New Day", possibly as an intentional reference to Loomis.
Opener "Blackmail" could deceive you into believing this is an entirely alt-metal album, channeling Cantrell's solo work, and "Human Waste" is also in this vein. But there are much heavier songs which sound like Nevermore, such as "Holocaust", "Eternal Punishment", and the title track. Aittala's vocal style is informed by Matt Barlow, a fact which is especially evident on the layered vocal harmonies in the Iced Earth-style ballads (e.g. "Eden" or "Damned"). One final curveball is thrown into the mix with the early Stabbing Westward industrial rock of "Juliet".
While I like all of the influences on display, and there are some good ideas and good songs, the album fails to really grab me. It bears all the potential pitfalls of a guitarist's solo project. In other words, it lacks focus, and other than the guitars the music is not all that interesting. The only time I noticed the drums doing anything spiffy was in the title track, and I never noticed the bass. The vocals, while being comparable in style to some fantastic power metal vocalists, are not nearly as skillful or--well, powerful. Plus, the album is a bit ballad-heavy, with about half the album being pure ballad.
The Verdict: The ideal target audience for the album is American guitarists who were born between 1975 and 1982. My old college roommate would love it. It is at the least unique, and the guitars are skillful, so I give it 3 out of 5 stars.