Review Summary: Killdozer know how to rock.
Although underground alternative rock bands such as The Butthole Surfers, Slint, Big Black, and The Jesus Lizard started garnering minor acclaim in the late 80's, Killdozer was one of first successful “alt/noise-rock” groups to get going on Touch & Go Records. Notorious for signing raw, gritty, and creepy bands Touch & Go struck gold when they signed Killdozer onto their roster in 1983. Like the groups that preceded them on Touch & Go, Killdozer set the tone with their thundering mix of noise rock, punk, and sludge-metal. The foursomes debut album Intellecuals Are the Shoeshine Boys of the Ruling Elite
is their best record to date sporting some of the nastiest and abrasive music to come out of that time period.
Intellecuals Are the Shoeshine Boys of the Ruling Elite
features a whopping total of nineteen tracks that span from a minute and a half to five minutes long. Lead guitarist Bill Hobson showcases his range by playing piercing guitar riffs in one song, and slow, slimy sludge-metal type chords in another. Tracks range from nasty, in your face punk anthems (“Burning House
”) to slow, thundering metal inspired rockers (“Farmer Johnson
” to country-blues influenced (“Cinammon Girl
.”) Killdozer don’t show a huge amount of variety or creativity but they show enough variation throughout the nineteen tracks to keep things from becoming monotonous.
Another unique aspect about Killdozer is Tom Hazelmeyer’s erratic vocal delivery. Combined with the sludgy guitar riffs and muffled drum hits Hazelmeyer growls in a deep, displeasing, almost goofy voice. His raspy voice is kind of like a combination of Tim Armstrong and B.B King. When you combine his deep welping with the sharp rhythm section and razorblade-esque guitars Killdozer compose some whacky, yet thunderous music. Upon first listen I thought that Steve Albini produced this considering the fact that it possesses rough-edged, raw qualities of his typical production styles. Unsurprisingly, Dan Hobson’s subtle yet quick drumming is buried deep in the mix creating an even more chaotic and guitar dominant sound. It may be difficult to take Killdozer seriously because they musically posses such a nasty, sludge-ridden sound yet their vocalist sounds like Tom Verlaine on crack.
Despite the fact that Intellecuals Are the Shoeshine Boys of the Ruling Elite
is an extremely unaccessible album it still delivers the goods if you’re a fan of 80's hardcore punk. Killdozer may not be as noisy as Big Black, or as ***ed up as The Butthole Surfers but it’s safe to say that they’re a nasty combination of the two. Fans of metal, punk, and noise-rock can all find something to enjoy as Killdozer easily cover all of those genres within the hour long span of the album.