Review Summary: A strong debut that channels an influence from each member of the band.
Max Cavalera (of Soulfly) and Greg Puciato (of The Dillinger Escape Plan) seemed to have a strong chemistry when we heard "Rise of the Fallen" on Soulfly's Omen
in 2010, in what seemed to be the piece of hay in a needle stack of an album. In 2011 they formed the project we now know as 'Killer be Killed,' recruiting Mastodon bassist Troy Sanders, and ex-The Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch. Slowly material was worked on during the course of 2-3 years and it finally came to fruition when the band officially entered the studio in September of 2013. In March of this year, we finally got a taste of what the band would sound like when songs Wings of Feather and Wax
and Face Down
were streamed as a joint single. The former has been dubbed the "radio rock" song of the two, whereas the latter has seemed to fare better among followers of the band. So where did expectations lie?
After multiple listens, it is safe to say that this supergroup has crafted a strong debut that channels an influence from each member, such like other Nuclear Blast
supergroup Devil You Know.
Unlike DYK, however, there isn't an even amount of influence from each member. More often does the album revolve around Cavalera's thrash and groove experience. Sanders' (Mastodon's) sludge influence is slightly less present, and even to a lesser extent a progressive influence. Puciato and Elitch shed light of their influence here and there, but the styles of their bands are virtually nonexistent in the album. This is a detractor because although there is variety within each song, the songs themselves carry a set of similar features.
One high point of this album is the tri-vocalist set if Sanders' low, gruff melodies, Puciato's higher melodies and his wide range of shrieking, and Cavalera's short range shouts. The use of multiple vocalists (like in Mastodon) makes it so the attention is not on one person throughout the entirety of the album. This is typically effective through the album's course, though there are sections of vocals that seen to be thrown in for the sake of 'taking turns,' such as Cavalera's verse before the second chorus in Wings...
With the instruments on this album, the band seems to weave different sounds in as they tackle different genres (of sorts) while playing. Be it the nearly psychedelic sound within Save the Robots
, the punk styles tossed into Fire to Your Flag
, or the grooves on Melting of My Marrow
(to state a few). Cavalera and Puciato handle the guitars well as a team through the riffs, breakdowns and solos they unleash through the album. Sanders (while not always audible) has his moments when heard throughout the album. Elitch seems to take the cake when it comes to the best player on the album. Be it in his fills (one listen to the intro of Curb Crusher
proves this), or his double bass pedals, (etc.) his drumming is solid throughout the entirety of the album.
The lyrics in the album range from excellent to Cavalera (as in the simplicity of his writing). The majority of these are in the field of "politically charged," such as I.E.D.
is about nuclear warfare ("Improvised explosive device") and Face Down
about political corruption ("A disarray, in the nation"). But it's not necessarily the cliche political lyrics that shine; Forbidden Fire
tells a tale of not letting music be the, well, forbidden fire by hands of the government. The lyrics in songs like Wings...
contain some of the best lyrics on the entire album, whether it's about "falling like Icarus to land" or "a vision of undoing, of a wounded angel, perfect huntress frozen inside."
After a period of three years in the making, Killer Be Killed have released their debut. A fun album, and arguably one of the best metal supergroups we've seen when compared to other supergroups that are hovering around the releases of 2014 (DYK, Hellyeah).
Wings of Feather and Wax
Melting of My Marrow
Snakes of Jehovah
Save the Robots