There has been substantial coverage about this band here on GSA.
I, for one, have been extremely excited about this project. I mean, Max Cavalera is in it. He’s the dude who’s responsible for the records Arise and Beneath the Remains. Those two albums barely contain a typhoon of whipping riffage and unbridled passion. Cavalera Conspiracy isn’t entirely terrible either, and I’m looking forward to their upcoming allegedly grindcore-leaning album. Dude has the mane of a lion, a roar to match it, and has a right hand that could give 1980’s James Hetfield a run for his money.
Killer Be Killed also features Greg Puciato, the vocalist of the Dillinger Escape Plan. He’s one of the most aggressive voices in the genre and combining his caliber of adrenaline-junkyism with Cavalera’s barbed-wire brutality seemed like a “Why hasn’t this happened already” moment in metal. By the way, if you haven’t picked up DEP’s latest album, you’re missing out. It’s weird and makes you grin.
Mastodon’s Troy Sanders is also no stranger to chaotic, angst-driven soundtracks of destruction. I was really hoping he would take this opportunity to return to his roots and start playing metal again; as much as I’ve enjoyed their prog-rock endeavors, Mastodon is no longer making super heavy music.
With these three titans playing and screaming over a supremely articulate drummer, how could it end poorly? Well, they found a way.
The two songs they released sound really, really, really similar. Not only that, but, to me, they sound like a Dez Fafara-less DevilDriver track. Don’t believe me? Have a listen to this.
In fact, load that song and the Killer Be Killed video and then play them both at the same time. It kinda works. Same key, same basic chord progression.
Am I alone here? Or does anyone else think that Killer Be Killed spent way too much time around the twelfth, thirteenth, and tenth frets on that sixth string while writing their tunes? I mean, those are objectively the first or second most metal notes on the guitar, in competition with the tritone made famous by Black Sabbath in their self-titled song. But since those notes sound so bile-churningly evil and spine-tinglingly aggressive, they are also the most-used notes in metal. If used improperly they become a cliché.
Now, I’ve only been exposed to two songs from Killer Be Killed. There is still a chance for them to fulfill my expectations, but I’m calling it: expect something that sounds like DevilDriver or a slightly more bearable version of Trivium. There’s going to be tons of chugga-chuggas and maybe even some gated breakdown sequences that will send blood straight to your dick if you’re at the gym and you have a minimum of three tribal tattoos. Expect lots of choruses. Lots and lots of them. And they will be following limited cycles of riffs that don’t seem to go anywhere. The songs that were released seemed like they were written to have solo sections in them, but they only have rhythm guitarists in the band, so the solos will be questionable.
I know that they really made this album for themselves because they’re friends and that’s what musicians do with their friends. I know my opinion doesn’t matter because I’m just some dude who contributes to a [most kick ass] blog on the internet. But I really expected more from this band. It’s not aggressive enough, I don’t feel like they’re trying to manifest a rusty machete from nothing but the anger in their music and then plunge that sonic weapon through my earholes. There’s very little punk, very little thrash, and a heavy sense of underwhelming cliché.
The good news is you won’t HAVE to HATE Killer Be Killed because they are nowhere close to achieving the level of jack-assery that DevilDriver and Trivium have managed. Let’s hope I’m terribly wrong, though. I hate it when good ideas go sour.
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