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Though Rage is Attila's third album, it may be the first one that aboveground metal listeners get exposed to thanks in large part to their being signed to Artery. The members of this young Atlanta-based quintet regard themselves as a "party death metal" act. This is, in fact, literally true. While they play a pure stop-and-start meld of thrash and death metal, their lyric approach is more frat boy party animal poetry than the topics -- violence, ruin, and destruction -- played by most black-clad practitioners of the genre. Take some of the lyrics in the title track as representative, for instance: "Hometown Atlanta represent in the true blue light/Grab a cigarillo and a 40 and a Bic light/Lemme get a Newport and now it's on!" This sums up Attila's attitude; yet somehow the music itself reaches beyond novelty even though it's weird and goofy -- and, therefore, perversely enjoyable. Vocalist Fronz (everybody goes by first name only here) has a completely cracked way of "singing." Yes, it uses the de rigueur cookie monster growls, and combines them with wails that sound like something from early Absu, a wailing Fred Durst, and chants in certain choruses that echo both Disturbed and the Beastie Boys. Clocking in at a little over 26 minutes, these 11 songs speed by in a blur of shrapnel guitars and blastbeat drumming. There are sound effects too -- beer pouring, coughing, vomiting, party atmosphere backdrops, etc. -- but they don't feel at all at cross purposes with the punishing music, but more as a complement to it even if they are literally gross: "Strikeout" is literally about clearing phlegm. None of this would be even worth listening to if these guys couldn't play, but they can -- and mightily. They can also write tunes that are not only distinguishable from one another, but from the genre at large, with hooks as well as adrenaline, speed, and technical precision. The closer, "Jumanji," is almost hummable. Somehow the "screw-it-all-let's-get-wasted" attitude on Rage feels a lot more honest as an expression of young male testosterone-fueled aggression than what usually comes across as death metal in the 21st century.

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