Attila frontman Chris Fronzak is kind of like the DJ Khaled of rock, a ‘musician’ whose actual musical output comes second to an inflated online persona and just generally being a meme. But, between the set of Attila emojis and the extortionately priced self-help phone calls, there is actual music there. You’d be forgiven for ignoring it though because for the longest time, Attila have been one of the most worthless bands you could come across, wasting half a dozen albums on either rallying against haters and just generally being horrendously offensive over some of the most bland, one-dimensional deathcore thudding imaginable.
Album number seven (!) Chaos, on the other hand, actually feels a bit different, even slightly improved. Let’s address the positives first, because there are some here, the first, surprisingly enough, being Fronz himself. As the character he’s playing on this album, he’s at least more interesting than a typical faceless metalcore nobody, and with the knowledge that he’s clearly portraying a caricature of a liquored-up party boy on tracks like Moshpit, it’s hard to get truly aggravated or offended, even though that’s clearly the intention. Even the musicianship feels a bit better, adopting a sound leaning further towards nu-metalcore that’s currently in vogue that at least has some sort of bounce and groove to it, and while Chris Linck’s blasts of solos feel shoehorned in at the best of times, it at least shows that there’s a technicality to this band that would be well worth showing off more.
But that’s where any praise ends because, even with some problems patched up, Chaos is just not likeable at all. And the main culprit for this is – brace yourselves – Fronz and his lyrics. He might have a personality that sets him apart from the other frontmen in his bracket, but it’s certainly not one that exudes good taste. As ever, Chaos sees him bring his worst impulses to the fore, primarily one hell of a Napoleon complex on tracks like Legend, or just stating how much he doesn’t care about his detractors for the umpteenth time on Ignite and Bulletproof (though the fact that after seven albums it’s still something he’s harping on about suggests he might just care more than he lets on). By far the worst track though is Queen, an absolutely rancid song drenched in slimy misogyny, not helped by Fronz’s sleazy leering that makes you wonder how this ever got past quality control. But even if these were good songs, they would at least need a more competent frontman, something which Fronz couldn’t be further away from. The nasal belches he calls vocals have no presence whatsoever, especially when he raps (which, for some ungodly reason, he spends a solid portion of this album doing), and on tracks like Public Apology or Moshpit that need an imposing vocal, they just sound embarrassing.
But even despite all of that, Chaos manages to fall at the first hurdle in that, where Attila specifically go out of their way to provoke and offend, what they come out with simply isn’t offensive. If anything Chaos is the most toned-down they’ve been in a long time, and in doing that there’s really no need for Attila to exist anymore. The fact that this is actually supposed to offensive is the most laughable part; Fronz’s assertions on Public Apology that the fact he says “cunt” and “bitch” are what people are offended about most feels widely off the mark, especially considering the only people who would be even remotely bothered are those who’ve lived the most sheltered lives imaginable and the thirteen-year-olds who think they’re hard that Attila are clearly trying to appeal to.
The thing is though, with Chaos showing Attila at their least offensive, it also shows them at their least offensively bad. There are actually plus points that can be made about this album compared to the hot garbage of some of their previous releases, and that’s a step up that should be noted. It’s still nowhere close to good though, and there’s an overriding feeling of its tameness equating to running out of ideas. Still, there’s nothing to really be fussed about here; it’s obnoxious and meatheaded as all hell, but at least the blast radius isn’t nearly as wide this time around. Though if the biggest compliment that can be paid to Chaos is that it isn’t the worst album of the year, that’s still not good in anyone’s books.
For fans of: Emmure, Palisades, Limp Bizkit
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Chaos’ by Attila is out now on Sharptone Records.