Review Summary: What was wrong with “Flying Mastodons Escape From Mars”?
For any fan of metal, the announced line-up of Killer Be Killed certainly piqued more than a few interests. Featuring Greg Puciato from Dillinger Escape Plan, Troy Sanders from Mastodon, Max Cavalera from Soulfly/Sepultura and session musician Dave Elitch of The Mars Volta fame, the influence and longevity of these men and their bands lead to an instant excitement for what these minds could create as a whole. Featuring a tri-vocal attack and a blend of their band’s genres, Killer Be Killed’s self-titled debut is certainly is a unique and pleasant surprise.
What listeners will notice right away is not only the blend of metal genres, but also the blend of vocal styles. With Sanders handling the guff, lower-register melodies, Cavalera handling the growls and Puciato handling both a bit of screaming and higher-register melodies, the variety is most certainly the album’s strong point. “Wings of Feather and Wax” starts off the fury, and right away the tri-vocal attack shows off its potency: after a heavy first verse riff sung by Sanders, the song erupts into the album's most infectious chorus melody sung by Puciato, which could easily rival any catchy chorus found on any Top 40 pop song. Keeping the vocal styles as varied as the musical styles makes Killer Be Killed
interesting without sounding too muddled.
In terms of musical styles, any fan of these individual bands might not be able to fully sink their teeth into the sound, but Killer Be Killed
is almost a perfect blend of thrash, math and sludge to create a sound that is just plain heavy
. Not to deal in absolutes, but if you’re not nodding your head to the beginning of “Snakes of Jehova” or the last third of “Curb Crusher”, then I don’t know how you could be a fan of metal as a whole. These songs, along with standouts “Face Down” and “I.E.D.”, create an intoxicating mix of sludgy grooves, speedy thrash riffs and just a dose of unexpected breakdowns. “Fire To Your Flag”, the album’s shortest and fastest number, even flirts with a punk/hardcore vibe. The final product might not be what most were expecting, but the results in parts of the album are certainly very satisfying.
But while variety is the album’s strongest asset, even Killer Be Killed
cannot escape the fatal flaw that most supergroups usually fall into: underdeveloped ideas. While most songs on here have terrific backbones, some suffer from lacking a strong, coherent idea. Songs like “Save The Robots”, “Twelve Labors” and “Forbidden Fire” try to go for a slower, plodding attack, and while there are some riffs that keep it from being a total loss, the songs never really seem to get off the ground. And songs like “Melting Of My Marrow” and “Dust Into Darkness”, while good overall songs, central around chorus hooks that are not as infectious as the album’s opener.
With supergroups, there’s always an excitement behind what could be, but rarely do bands live up to the hype and excitement. While Killer Be Killed
hasn’t produced anything mind-blowing, it certainly is one of the better metal releases of year, and just plain fun and exciting to listen to at times. Creating a mesh of genres that all fans of metal can appreciate and enjoy, Killer Be Killed
has enough variety, fun and enthusiasm to warrant a passing grade, and is certainly worthy of the these men’s great reputations.