Kill The Thrill
Autophagie


4.4
superb

Review

by Mitch Worden EMERITUS
January 28th, 2024 | 29 replies


Release Date: 01/26/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lost in the sprawl.

If you squint through the alluring facade of a city skyline--the way a sunrise scatters across buildings, the lights of distant windows lining the horizon-- it’s possible to spot the smog clouds or the monolithic presence of smokestacks. There’s the haphazard urban sprawl--a maze of crumbling architecture, cracked and broken-down roads, blurry neon signs--and the eerie clutter of nearby suburbs, each house stacked row-by-row as if copied ad nauseam. It makes for a strange beauty that grows or decays at the behest of industrialization’s cold indifference. Kill the Thrill have embodied this uniquely despairing landscape since their inception, remaining cautiously removed from the traffic jams and humming of machinery while still inexorably intertwined with it all. Their music evolves alongside the fluctuations of a city skyline, acting as a symbol for its mystical pull and its underlying dreariness, offering philosophical lamentations while wandering nondescript streets.

Autophagie seems an appropriate title for the French group’s first new record in nearly twenty years. It doesn’t shy away from the unavoidable aging of the band; Nicolas Dick’s ragged, world-weary vocal lines have accrued mileage since the days of Tellurique, and Marylin Tognolli’s reverberating bass has become a foreboding funeral march. It similarly doesn’t hide the collective’s trademark style of contradictions--an atypical meeting ground where the impassive crushing force of Godflesh intersects with shoegaze, post-punk, and alternative--and how it has subtly morphed across the band’s lifespan, slowly incorporating alterations while operating off of a tried-and-true foundation. Autophagie features all the hallmarks of that familiar base camp, being replete with mournful soundscapes heightened by ghostlike guitar passages, amorphous synth arrangements and bleak lyricism filtered through a diet-of-gravel vocal tone. However, the band’s latest is less a blunt weapon of post-metal might and more of an imposing wall of mist: a haze-laden cloak composed of melancholic string swells and an impenetrable downpour of wavering electronic ambiance.

What unravels across the record’s duration is something even more pensive than the gang’s prior escapades, and it consists of a wonderfully varied tracklist that demonstrates the group’s disparate influences. The intensity of their industrial roots can be heard in “A La Dérive” where an aggressive, pulsating bass riff plows through haunting synths that gradually transform into moody, gothic-esque tones. “Le Dernier Train” plays out like a post-punk epic, matching the prior track’s uptempo energy with a twangy guitar lead, dexterous percussion, and an ever-expanding, beguiling mixture of cascading tones and glittering keys that merge into soothing string samples, molding the setting of the tune to fit into a bleak, yet simultaneously tranquil landscape. That domain is accentuated by the group’s gentler, shoegaze-infused forays, encompassed by the shimmering synth arrangements of “Les Enfants Brûlent” and the gorgeous subtlety of the title track, where sweeping string samples blanket the composition and provide a stellar contrast to the band’s harsher edges. Regardless of approach, Kill the Thrill’s cinematic perspective--a methodology reliant upon cautious build-ups and elongated crescendos--allows their sound to develop gradually from gentle murmurations to awe-inspiring climaxes, inserting multiple layers of melodic guitars or synths that generate the collective’s uniquely despairing aura.

Guided by that particular atmosphere, Autophagie flows brilliantly, slinking through the haze of a blurred, black-and-white metro while coming up to breathe at choice moments. Its final stretch in particular, spanning from the sublime guitar melody and gorgeous rising synths of “Cluster Headache” to closing instrumental “Ahan,” is experienced like it were an interwoven sequence, carefully navigating from crushing industrial force to smooth passageways decorated with shifting electronics and ethereal chords. Nicolas Dick’s voice echoes throughout these diverse soundscapes, acting as the conduit of their melancholia or a witness to its vast territory. His ragged bass tone roams like a phantom, ebbing and flowing from quiet utterances to desperate baritone belting, either punctuating a finale in the case of the title track or vanishing into the production’s eternal haze as in “Le Dernier Train.” He remains an ideal embodiment of Kill the Thrill’s contradictory style--a fusion of harsh, noise-infested elements and an offsetting ambiance of stunning synth arrangements--and his distinctive raspy singing carries a substantial amount of the disc’s emotional resonance.

It’s fascinating how easily Kill the Thrill can transition between their varied inspirations, and their consistent ability to synthesize separate genres allows their work to retain an odd sense of beautiful decay that is difficult to replicate. Despite the aforementioned aging process that seems central to the album’s theme, the band hasn’t lost a step in the decades they’ve remained dormant. If anything, the French crew’s songwriting sounds more refined than ever, and their knack for climactic crescendos has allowed tunes to blossom into a compelling array of sounds that combine to construct a powerfully atmospheric experience. It remains as strangely alternative as Kill the Thrill’s music has ever been, not unlike the strange beauty of a faraway city skyline. Autophagie may not be the most accessible album, but its potential rewards for listening are immense.




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user ratings (18)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
Emeritus
January 28th 2024


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

w/thanks to Sunnyvale for editing and proofing assistance



bandcamp link: https://killthethrill.bandcamp.com/album/autophagie

Pikazilla
January 28th 2024


30044 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awe inspiring

kkarron
January 28th 2024


1410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

whoa whoa whoa, this lot is still around? gotta listen

Slex
January 28th 2024


16666 Comments


Damn this sounds cool gotta listen

kkarron
January 28th 2024


1410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

indeed is cool

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 28th 2024


10769 Comments


I have this bookmarked for future inspection.

Great review.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2024


5975 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Beautiful review Mars - might be missing a word or two at the end of the last sentence though?

MarsKid
Emeritus
January 29th 2024


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

Thanks for stopping by friends



And yeah looks like I accidentally chopped it off... oops!

kildare
January 29th 2024


287 Comments


Great review. So far it sounds like "the strange beauty of a faraway city skyline" is the perfect metaphor for this album

MarsKid
Emeritus
January 30th 2024


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

Thanks! Yeah their music is wonderfully melancholic and dreamy while still having an industrial edge, like a shoegaze band stuck inside an industrial metal band's body lol

Pikazilla
January 30th 2024


30044 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

perfect fit of a vocal performance on here

MarsKid
Emeritus
January 30th 2024


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

You can definitely hear how he's aged--but that's what makes it absolutely perfect.

Chousifar
January 31st 2024


43 Comments


Haven't heard it yet but KTT is one of my favorite bands ever. So powerful and emotional. Heartbreaking wall of sounds.

ReiniEden
January 31st 2024


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm very surprised to see KtT on front page, absolutely adore this.

MarsKid
Emeritus
January 31st 2024


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

Hopefully this gets some eyeballs on their work! Underrated band, I only found them recently but have fallen in love since then.

hogan900
January 31st 2024


3316 Comments


Rly underrated band

Chousifar
January 31st 2024


43 Comments


I discovered them live back in 2000. What a great memory... maybe 200 people attending the show. Only 10 people left in the room at the end but wow...

kkarron
February 1st 2024


1410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah it's an early aoty candidate for me tbh

Hawks
February 1st 2024


89540 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gonna jam this tonight so ahrd.

Egarran
February 1st 2024


34273 Comments


Is it autophagie when you eat your boogers?



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