Thousands, if not millions of people are either outraged by them, or think they’re moronic. They show complete disregard for this, and only seem to thrive on the hate, attracting a bizarrely obsessive cult of followers despite the scorn poured on them by mainstream (i.e. sensible) thinkers. They draw large live crowds and entertain a lot of people – and are seemingly quite good at that, at least. The more offensive things they say, the more attention they get to the point you don’t even register them as offensive any more. And dig just a little bit under the veneer of anti-establishment vitriol and you’ll find no actual substance or useful ideas.
Am I describing Donald Trump, or Attila?
Like the 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Fronz and co. have forged a career out of controversy, to the point where the music (for the uninitiated, imagine the worst kind of modern metal and the worst kind of modern hip-hop being carelessly thrown together, and then add twelve Limp Bizkit albums’ worth of swearing) is something of an afterthought. Which, to be honest, is probably a good thing. The awfulness levels reached their peak on the sickening About That Life, which in the parallel universe that the band’s fans inhabit is regarded as a masterpiece (based on how much of the drivel from it still finds a place in their live set). 2014’s Guilty Pleasure saw some marginal improvements, through the inclusion of some actual riffs and even a really quite good guitar solo or two – but it was still garbage by any other band’s standards.
Against all odds, Chaos is another step up. That doesn’t mean much when you’re stepping up from a place so low that there’s probably undiscovered life forms down there, but any little steps are appreciated nonetheless. There’s a handful of songs here that are actually pretty decent, when the guitarists remember they can play parts that aren’t breakdowns and the legendary Fronzilla (to give him his full title) stops being a jackass and sings some actual hooks. “Bulletproof” and “Legend” are far catchier than they have any right to be, and “Rise Up” is a genuine party metal anthem.
Elsewhere… things aren’t so great. The same open note-spamming exercises in tedium that plague every Attila album are back in full force, and while the B-movie synths on “Let’s Get Abducted” and electronic touches that recall The Defiled’s debut album make some steps to make things ever so slightly more interesting, the likes of “Ignite” and “Obsession” are still endurance tests for anyone who hasn’t already fallen under the band’s bewildering spell. The lyrics, meanwhile, remain a noxious cocktail of “fuck the haters” gangsta rap bravado and nonsensical clichés. Sample: “said you love the music, but you never show your face, bitch. Fuck this shit you can find me in the mosh pit!” from, funnily enough, “Moshpit”, which brings in elements of 2011 brostep of all things. “Public Apology” manages to be funny for about twelve seconds before devolving into the usual avalanche of expletives.
The problem that Attila have is that they thrive on offending people. But it’s 2016, and everybody is offended by everything, so you can’t just repeat the same things you’ve been doing for five years and expect to still shock people. So now they’re writing some actual songs, a few of which are less than terrible to the point that within the Attila catalogue, Chaos might as well be Master of Puppets. But will anyone care? When you’re ripping off your album name and artwork from Warhammer 40,000, and putting a Parental Advisory sticker on the album yourselves, with your logo incorporated within it, it’s hard to take anything seriously. Should we take anything Attila does seriously? Is this one big prank? Is Fronz one day going to turn around and yell “SIKE! GOT YA!” at us all? Who knows? Who cares?
Make metal great again! Or something like that.