Review Summary: Soulinger Voltadon present a thrash and punk fuelled assault on the senses
Killer be Killed are a super-group with one of the most exciting line-ups that I've ever seen. The band was started in 2011 when Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan) and Max Cavalera (Soulfly/Cavalera Conpiracy/ex-Sepultura) came together at a memorial concert for the late Chi Cheng of Deftones. They later recruited Troy Sanders (Mastodon) and Dave Elitch (ex-The Mars Volta) and began recording the eponymous album in 2013.
When the album was released in 2014, it was arguably one of the most anticipated albums of the year, with everyone in the metal community wanting to hear how the blend of these musical styles would work. To answer that question; they knocked it out of the park.
The main sound of the band is definitely more influenced on Mastodon and Soulfly than anything else but saying that, Greg Puciato and Dave Elitch definitely lend more than their fair share to the album.
The album opens with ‘Wings of Feather and Wax’ which sets the tone perfectly for what to expect on the rest of the album in respect to the transient blend of sludge, thrash and hardcore/punk, providing the listener with an instant aural assault from the opening chords. The song also exhibits the vocal roles of Puciato, Sanders and Cavalera. Sanders opens the song with the lower-register melodic verse, this is his vocal role throughout the album. Puciato then takes over with the higher-registered chorus melody. The chorus has such a catchy hook that after the first listening, I found myself singing it for around a week. Later in the song, Cavalera shows off his signature, guttural screaming which, coupled with the heaviness of the material, is indicative of his influence in the band. Puciato dips in and out of the song with his own, more high pitched brand of screaming. All of this combined with Elitch’s relentless drumming, make the song an incredibly strong opener.
Following that comes ‘Face Down’ which is a much more fast-paced, brutal song and features Cavalera on vocals much more. The anger behind the song is evident on the meaty riff and aggressive vocal track. Whilst lacking the hook heard in the previous track, it more than makes up for it in the breakdown which is very reminiscent of Mastodon in its heavy riff and transient vocal melody.
Many of the same themes carry on throughout the album with each song either employing a catchy hook or replacing that with a nice chunky breakdown. Songs such as ‘Melting of my Marrow’ and ‘Curb Crusher’ have an attack to them that really engages your inner metal lover and almost touches on the punk/hardcore style.
Other songs such as ‘Snakes of Jehovah’ and ‘I.E.D’ are so sludgy and heavy that metal fans of all kinds would find themselves absent-mindedly nodding their heads, tapping their feet or even trying to mimic Elitch’s drumming on that air drum-kit they've been carrying around with them.
Sadly though, the album is not entirely pure gold. Interspersed throughout the album, there are songs like ‘Twelve Labors’ and ‘Save the Robots’ that, whilst being good songs, are no more than that. My thoughts on this are that Killer be Killed have just fallen foul of the standard super-group problem of trying too much. In these songs, they have tried to slow up the tempo and give a less thrashy approach and it is just lacking something.
To summarise, Killer be Killed is a brilliant début and features some fantastic tracks. The platform that they have left themselves here, should they wish to continue with this project, is one that many bands would kill for. The anticipation for the album was exceeded in my opinion and it has been a permanent fixture in my listening since its release.
1. Wings of Feather and Wax (5/5)
2. Face Down (4.5/5)
3. Melting of my Marrow (4/5)
4. Snakes of Jehovah (4/5)
5. Curb Crusher (4.5/5)
6. Save the Robots (3/5)
7. Fire to Your Flag (3.5/5)
8. I.E.D (4.5/5)
9. Dust into Darkness (3/5)
10. Twelve Labors (3.5/5)
11. Forbidden Fire (3/5)