Billy The Kill

Billy I Kill You

Written by: PP on 05/04/2009 17:07:59

Every now and then I like to take a look around the criminally underrated European music scene, which contains a ton of good bands in all genres but few of them ever reach the sort of recognition than their US counterparts (other than in metal, of course). Belgium's own Billy The Kill, formed in 2006 and now on their debut album "Billy I Kill You", are the result of such scouting. So what type of musical outfit are we dealing with here? That's a hard question to answer, considering the band has hazily thrown together a combination of elements from screamo, emocore and even pop punk. Although that sounds like a train wreck on paper, we've previously seen at least A Day To Remember put together a similar genre-cocktail reasonably convincingly, so how about Billy The Kill? Are they any good?

Well, they're not terrible, but I have a number of problems with their sound. Lets start with the obvious: the production has been left quite hollow, echoing, stadium/dancehall-like probably because of financial matters (or maybe on purpose in order to achieve an epic sound?), but the fact of the matter is that it does no justice to the songs. The echo takes away the punch from the guitars, and the lack of fine-tuning can especially be heard in the horrible clean vocal work, which most of the time is not just completely out of tune, but comes across as whiny and annoying. The screamer sounds a lot like Dan from the now-defunct Knife Of Liberty, and in fact all the emo/screamo moments on Billy The Kill's record have a lot in common with the way Knife Of Liberty sounded like on their debut EP, and these parts are much more convincing than the clean emo/pop bits. But being an unsigned band is often synonymous with lackluster production, so not much to do there.

The second problem is the confusing pop / punk rock sound that feels like it's been forced itself into the mix. Where A Day To Remember's breakdowns feel like a natural, fitting part of their sound, in Billy The Kill's case the word I would use is awfully close to "breakdown-infested". Then there are some incredibly cliché lyrics on a few songs that really put me off the record. "Sayonara" and its "Sayonara, this is goodbye, I can't believe that I was so blind, how you destroyed every moment" being a great example. And speaking of cliché, after ten tracks of emocore/pop punk/screamo the band decides, for some mysterious reason, to finish off the album with "Discofever", a trendier-than-thou neon song complete with disco-beat and nods towards eurotrance.

The positive thing about "Billy I Kill You" is, however, that every song has a nice and memorable chorus. The clean vocal / metalcore guitar dynamic does wonders when it's executed right, best seen on "Flying Fire", "Spit It Back", "TV Nation", and the title track, the latter which features a lengthy sample from the final words of the Obama victory speech, complete with the timeless slogan 'yes we can'. What exactly a Belgian band has to do with American politics leaves me with a question mark on my face. Anyhow, If it wasn't for the annoying pop punk feel and the unnecessary breakdowns, "Billy I Kill You" would sound much better overall than it does. The way it stands now, coupled with the sub par production, there are more annoying moments than positive ones, hence the low grade.


Download: Billy I Kill You, Spit It Back
For the fans of: A Day To Remember, Lower Definition, Knife Of Liberty
Listen: Myspace

Release date 05.03.2009

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