Attila is somewhat of a guilty pleasure. They’re not a “topnotch” metalcore band setting the framework for the genre, but they’re certainly fun and entertaining. Their lyrics, as everyone probably knows, are often harsh and sexual. And their music is always really heavy. Villain captures this perfectly. But, at the end of the album, things completely change, and the band shows a different side.
The first half of Villain is the Attila you’ve come to expect now. Eight albums in and the band’s formula is pretty much the same: heavy instruments and abrasive lyrics peppered with sexual references. Add a guitar solo here and there, toss a few hefty breakdowns in for good measure and you have the blueprint for most of their music. I will note that overall, I felt the instruments were much more interesting on this record than previous ones. In other words, there were more riffs and cozy drum fills.
However, the last half of the album is different. It’s fitting that the final track on the first half is “Still About It”, seemingly reminding the audience that the band is still about that hard-partying life style, even though they are about to show off a different side. “Toxic” and “It Is What It Is” are part of the old model, and part something else. The subject matter moves away from sex and drugs and becomes more positive. Lyrically, they’re directed at something that could arguably be called self-improvement.
Finally, there are the last three tracks. I found these to be the standout songs on the album because they’re different, especially “Subhuman”. These songs are much more reserved and measured. They’re still heavy, but they’re lyrics feel a little deeper.
Songs Worth Investigating
By far my favorite track is “Subhuman”. It feels like something Bring Me The Horizon forgot to add to their seminal record, Sempiternal. The lyrics address some social ills and the music remains tinged with heavy notions while assaulting you with atmospheric notes. “Bad Habits” comes next, as it again addresses some weighty topics through a lens that is uniquely Attila. If you are looking for something resembling their older work, the title track is a great “Attila-Song”.
…And To Conclude
Villain largely feels like a transition album, as it probably should, seeing that this is Attila’s first record as an independent band. The disc is split in half; the first part being something old and the second half being something new. Overall, I think the band did a good job at finding this fine line and then walking along it. People who have enjoyed the path Bring Me the Horizon took with Sempiternal or the one Asking Alexandria took on The Black, will be pleased with the latter part of Villain. If you want something heavy and worthy of moshing to, you will find the first half of this album enjoyable.