Released: May 13, 2014
Genre: Groove Metal, Thrash Metal, Hardcore
Label: Nuclear Blast
Number Of Tracks: 11
Possibly one of the most interesting metal supergroups to form in the past 5 years, their self-titled debut album has a lot going for it.
Killer Be KilledFeatured review by: UG Team, on may 16, 2014 5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: Some time in 2011, Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan) and Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly) began discussing working on a project together and slowly brought Troy Sanders (Mastodon) and Dave Elitch (The Mars Volta) into the fold. Without even having a name for their project they entered the studio in late 2013 and recorded this full-length album, afterwards coming up with the name, Killer Be Killed, and setting a release date for the album with their label, Nuclear Blast. There are 11 tracks on the album, but if you can get your hands on the vinyl version there is a bonus track called "Ghosts of Chernobyl" that I'd love to hear. The 11 tracks have a total runtime of about 45 minutes. The track "Wings of Feather and Wax" was released as the first single in early April.
The album opens up with the single "Wings of Feather and Wax" and the vocals early in the track sound a lot like Lemmy to me initially - it was tripping me out because I was wondering if Lemmy was making a guest appearance on the album (which would have made it even more awesome, but no complaints as-is). The track is definitely fast and aggressive, but still with a lot of melody. There is just a dash of the dissonance that The Dillinger Escape Plan uses in their own material to such great effect, but it goes well with what everyone else has brought to the table. "Face Down" is next up, and it opens up with a serious drum-line and a cool hook-y guitar riff and everybody sharing vocal duties on this track. "Face Down" really seems to start out as a certain type of track, but closes out a lot like a different type of track - not saying it is "proggy," but it is something different. "Melting of My Marrow" has a very melodic guitar line that caught my attention and some interesting clean vocals (I think that is Troy Sanders?). Really, the riffs on "Melting of My Marrow" seem a whole lot like what you would expect Max Cavalera and Greg Puciato to write together as it has elements of both clearly audible. "Snakes of Jehova" has a lot of energy right out of the gate and kind of "reboots" itself at about one minute in. This track has some of the more aggressive vocals to it, and musically is pretty much straight aggression! There is some serious double bass pedal going on with some tremolo picking during passages of the song that makes my pulse go up just hearing it. "Curb Crusher" is heavy on groove and just f--king heavy, too. Just to skim over the rest of the album, it is of course stays very heavy, fast, and melodic. There are continuing bits of dissonance mixed in with some seriously catchy riffs and the vocal mix is immaculate. "Save the Robots" has a neat little effect going on that sounds a little bit like a robot voice. "Fire to Your Flag" has some of the heaviest drums on the album, and some interesting tremolo picking as well. "I.E.D." is trying to do a lot of different things, and oddly enough seems to really pull it off. "Dust Into Darkness" is one of the slower, more groove-laden tracks on the album. "Twelve Labors" is possibly the most "chug-heavy" tracks on the album, and plays with melody and dissonance a lot. There is also a trippy segment of the song that is very clean with some tribal-sounding percussion going on. "Forbidden Fire" opens up with a neat little bass riff and some seriously processed vocals with some weird delay stuff going on with it. "Forbidden Fire" does get heavy for brief moments, but it is more like something you would expect from a band like The Doors if they were a modern day prog metal band. // 8
Lyrics: While Greg Puciato may have the lion's share of the vocals by a small margin, there are also a good deal of vocals provided by Max Cavalera and Troy Sanders. I love the mix, because each has their own approach to vocals and it seems like they each bring something unique and valuable to the table from a vocal standpoint. From the interviews with the band I've read the lyrics were written in a spirit of collaboration between Greg and Max early on and then when Troy came into the mix, he began writing lyrics with them as well. The lyrics are a lot better than you get from a lot of metal bands, but I mean hey what do you expect - you have three artists from bands whose lyrics are more intelligent than average working together. // 9
Overall Impression: I got caught up in the band's story about coming together, with some of my favorite bits is a story about Troy meeting Max Cavalera for the first time. At the time, Troy had already been invited into the project (later to be called Killer Be Killed) by Greg Puciato while The Dillinger Escape Plan was touring with Mastodon. Later on Troy and Max were playing at the same event or festival and Troy went up to Max and introduced himself with the line, "Hey, I'm Troy. I think we're in a band together." The band claims they had instant chemistry with each other and listening to the album I can believe it. It is easy on the spot to get caught up and say something like "Oh, this is my favorite metal release so far this year," so I won't say that yet, but I have to say I'm really loving where this is coming from and how each member's influences are cooked into their sound. My favorite tracks are "Forbidden Fire," "Fire to Your Flag," "Dust Into Darkness" and "Melting of My Marrow." I look forward to more from this supergroup, because whatever they're doing is working. // 8
Killer Be Killed
LeperDog, on may 26, 2014 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Very few times in your experience as a metal listener you'll come across a band that has a surprisingly good chemistry in the singers. Sure, some bands boast of more than one singer doing the lead vocals, but they sure aren't Max Cavalera (ex-Sepultura, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan) and Troy Sanders (Mastodon). The incredible thing about Killer Be Killed is that regardless of the stalwarts and heavyweights taking helm of the band, the vocals are the ultimate reward of the album. The three gentlemen sound amazingly tight together, and there's plenty of accommodation in there too. Taking turns at the mic, each and every one of these gentlemen makes his presence felt. I don't mean to sound very fanboy-ish, but the way their vocals complement each other is absolutely supreme.
Sure, in a band fronted by these three well-known names of the modern and classic rock/metal age, the silent man doesn't get too noticed. Unless he's Dave Elitch (ex-The Mars Volta). The dude can play. The dude can SERIOUSLY play. His drums cut through the mix with immense clarity, and he manages to keep the songs constantly pumping adrenaline through your headphones.
Max Cavalera mostly takes the lead guitar duties in this one, and the thrash element is highly prominent. I'm not a huge fan of thrash metal, but I have great memories associated with Sepultura's "Roots," and let me assure you, Cavalera sounds like he's doing a sequel to "Roots." Massive riffage, decent solos, soaring vocals, and as usual, the frequent mentioning of fire and anarchy. Puciato does a decent job supporting him on the rhythm and Troy's bass sounds clearer than it does in Mastodon. Again, the drumming is absolutely flawless, and the mixing is great. Tracks like "Wings of Feather and Wax," "Snakes of Jehovah," "Curb Crusher" and "Save the Robots" are good examples of excellent musicianship exercised by the band. The album has 11 tracks and clocks in at 46 minutes. // 9
Lyrics: It should already be anticipated that lyrics won't be the strong point of this album. The album is more oriented towards vocal chemistry and flawless musicianship, and I got a feeling that lyrics have been generally ignored. Before giving it the first spin I had low expectations from Cavalera (assuming each vocalist sings his contribution to the lyrics), but had my bets placed on Sanders and Puciato. Overall, the general theme of the album is angst at various issues of today's society. There is a general repetition of "fire" in most of the songs; and not surprisingly, Cavalera gives in the usual "arise!", "we are fatherless sons of a nation" and "f--k you and your reality." What I managed to notice were strong references to the current political unrest being faced by governments around the world and the dilemma faced by the general public regarding leaders and governments.
Overall, the lyrics match well with the music, Puciato displays the usual prowess of his throat and his spectacular vocal range. Sanders handles the lower keys, Cavalera handles his growl really well. However, even though the lyrics are nothing stellar, they don't really matter because the album isn't too directed towards meanings of songs. It's mostly three angry men talking of explosives, marching forward, death, and of course, fire. // 7
Overall Impression: Overall, I really liked the album. It has a very balls-to-the-wall kind of approach. Dave Elitch does a remarkable job at the kit, and the whole band sounds really well together. The album has been mixed very well, and has a decent runtime, The longest songs has a duration of 5:40, and is called, you guessed it, "Forbidden Fire." The lyrical themes gave the impression these songs would fit better in Mastodon's "Remission." Nevertheless, I'm really glad i gave this album a spin. You won't be surprised to hear the various influences each participant brings to the table as they collaborate. There's a heavy thrash element, a heavy hardcore/mathcore element, a bit of sludge, and a but of prog metal in it: in short it's an album any metal fan will enjoy. My favorite songs off it are "Wings of Feather and Wax," "Snakes of Jehovah," "Save the Robots," and "Dust into Darkness."
I would recommend this album to every metal fan. And I need a new set of headphones cuz I blasted this album through. // 9