Album Review: Attika 7 - Blood Of My Enemies
Some musical reinventions are necessary, while some of them seem to come out of nowhere. Musicians, for all the time we spend thinking about them in abstract terms, are artists, and they by definition cannot recreate what has already been done. Approximations can be made, but there will always be a different creative spark inciting the next work. No amount of careful copying can perfectly replicate what we've already seen or heard. That means at some point every musician has to accommodate change, whether it be a shift in taste, or simply the process of aging and gaining experience. Whatever the cause, those changes can be invigorating, or they can leave the audience scratching their heads, wondering how things could have veered so far off the tracks.
Attika 7 is the beginning of one of those changes, as the frontman and ostensible surrogate personality for the band Even Seinfeld makes his first foray outside the comfortable confines of Biohazard. That Attika 7 is a different animal to that band is not a shock, but that Seinfeld has changed the very essence of who he is as a singer is a different case. Change is good, they say, but such is not always the truth.
“Blood Of My Enemies” is the kind of low-slung, metal-tinged rock music that all but screams testosterone. It's all about swagger, heft, and proving a point that doesn't need to be proven. Rock music isn't, or at least shouldn't, be about proving one's masculinity. Unfortunately, that seems to be the only thing Attika 7 is concerned with. The simple bursts of guitar are tuned down far enough to blend into an indistinguishable wash of noise much of the time, the lyrics are focused on confrontation and puffery, and the songs themselves do their best job of impersonating the Godsmack followers who took over the scene.
That's not to say that the album is a total loss, because it's not. While nothing about “Blood Of My Enemies” will step outside the box and surprise you, it's well done for what it is. The riffs are barely riffs, but rock music isn't a place where guitar playing is important anymore. With the exception of players who have been around since the 80's, it's hard to find anyone who has impressed with their skill who still plays commercial rock. For better or worse, even this kind of music has become solely focused on vocals to carry the load and make the songs work.
Such an assessment may sound puzzling, given Seinfeld's past, but as much as I may have been apprehensive about the possibility, he steps up his game and saves Attika 7 from being a waste. The opening one-two punch of “Crackerman” and “Serial Killer” jump out not because they are anything other than what's conventional, but because Seinfeld's vocals are better than expected, and there's a stronger sense of melody than usually comes across in the genre. I'm not the target audience for this particular brand of rock, but even I couldn't help but admit my assumptions were wrong.
The album doesn't continue that strength all the way through, however. “Devil's Daughter” blunts the momentum with a slow-swagger chant that doesn't establish much of a groove, or cut through with a strong enough melody. “Greed And Power” follows that template, further dulling the album as it continues to unfold. Unfortunately, things never recover, and those first two tracks prove to be the exceptions, not the rule. The title track tries to be melodic, but doesn't hit the mark, while others eschew any effort to be more musical than muscular.
In the end, “Blood Of My Enemies” is frustrating, because not only is it not great, but it teases us right off the bat with two perfect examples of what it could have been. An album that followed in that spirit would have been unexpected, and a worthy bit of music. As it is, I can't say that about the final product, because too much of it feels second-rate in comparison. It may sound dumb, but the album would be better off without its best songs, so that expectations wouldn't have been raised too high.