Oshkosh, Wisconsin riffmeisters Attala's self titled debut album holds a special place in Desert Psychlist's heart, its big sounding metallic grooves were an almost constant soundtrack to daily life when it was released in 2014 and although its been over two years since it surfaced "Attalla" still remains a go-to when wanting something to blow away the dust of a hard day.
Attalla have not been idling in those two years, the quartet of Cody Stieg (lead guitar/vocal)
Brian Hinckley (rhythm guitar), Bryan Kunde (bass) and James Slater (drums), have been honing their chops on the live circuit as well as writing new material for their new album "Glacial Rules" which releases today (March 24, 2017).
"Butte Des Mortes" kicks off "Glacial Rule" with slow, low crushing guitar riffage supported by crashing pounding drums and crashing cymbals, with the occasional squealing lick thrown in before shifting into a choppy Sabbath-esque refrain over which strong clean vocals are roared with bellowed passion. If your planning to make an album you need something to grab the listeners attention straight away dragging them into your musical vision, making them want more, and "Butte Des Mortes" ticks all the boxes in that department.
"Ice Harvest" is up next and jams a tar thick stoner doom groove laid down over a barrage of tumultuous percussion into which are injected pyrotechnic, swirling guitar solo's, licks and fills. It is almost three minutes before the songs vocals appear, clean and powerful, and only two minutes before they disappear again, the song taken to it's conclusion on a wave of glorious instrumental heaviness with guitars screaming and howling over a bedrock of thrumming riffage and pulverising rhythm.
"Valdaran" opens with a distortion drenched two guitar motif before the drums and bass bring the hammer down and the band merge into the main riff together. There is a deep underlying blues feel to the songs groove, it's not a glaringly obvious one but there is a certain feel to how the song is structured both vocally, dynamically and atmospherically that combined with its scorching guitar solo's gives it a doomy delta presence.
"Black Wolf Ritual" takes the riff from the famous Birmingham fours "Black Sabbath" slightly alters it and extends it a couple of bars before shifting into a throbbing, but nonetheless Sabbath-esque, proto-doom groove replete with screaming Iommi inspired solo's over which lyrics telling of "sacrificial rites" and "dying embers" are sung. It's heavy, gloriously atmospheric and has a groove that will stay with you long after you've finished listening
"Devil's Lake" comes at the listener from a slightly different angle from the albums previous tracks by muddying up the waters with a touch of heavy sludge colouring and heavier more visceral vocal attack albeit tinted with elements of old school hard rock and heavy metal, especially in it's searing hot guitar solo's. It's a little different in its approach but still damn good nevertheless.
"Glacial Rule" closes the album with the band jamming on a low, slow doom groove that though still leaning heavily on the bands love of everything Sabbathian (the band cannot resist throwing in a few Iommi-eaque fills and licks) nods its head to the more grizzled stonerized doom of Goya and Spelljammer.
It is hard to describe what Attalla do without mentioning Black Sabbath and I apologise to both the band and to their fans (Desert Psychlist is one) for the many references to that band in this review but the influence Sabbath has had on this band, though not as obvious as on some, is there nonetheless,, not in a worshipful, tribute sort of way but as an underlying influence that although informs their sound does not define it.
Check 'em out .....