Killer Be Killed

Killer Be Killed

Written by: AP on 23/05/2014 13:27:34

Fans of metal would not have been able to keep their enthusiasm at bay when, in February 2011, news surfaced that Greg Puciato, Max Cavalera, Troy Sanders & Dave Elitch were planning to join forces in a new supergroup. After all, these gentlemen have their day jobs in other projects widely considered as among the most forward thinking in the world: the Dillinger Escape Plan, Soulfly, Mastodon & the Mars Volta. But as months became years and this four-way matrimony continued to be veiled in mystery, so did the buzz surrounding it diminish, eclipsed no doubt by critically acclaimed new albums by all but one of its members' primary outfits. Until, that is, in September last year, they entered the Fortress Studio in Los Angeles, CA with producer Josh Wilbur and begun recording music under the moniker Killer Be Killed; material that constitutes this self-titled début which I'm sure I'm not alone in having looked forward to with a watering mouth.

There was simply no way that musicians as talented and experienced as these would fall victim to the well-documented supergroup syndrome of never quite managing to cash in on their potential. And indeed, as opening track "Wings of Feather and Wax" marches in atop a simple, yet effective staccato riff and Sanders' characteristic bellows, then to unfold into an anthemic, instantly memorable chorus delivered in Puciato's equally characteristic, Mike Patton-esque style; there is the sense that Killer Be Killed have got it just right. Very much a sum of its parts, the aggressive grunts and chugging guitar of Cavalera, and the inspired drumming of Elitch complete a track in which each virtuoso shines without compromising its integrity or completeness. You'll hear "Blood Mountain"-era Mastodon in it, Cavalera Conspiracy barbarity, and certainly some of the frenzy of the Dillinger Escape Plan - in fact only the influence of Elitch's day job lacks from the end product, presumably due to the incompatibility of the Mars Volta's ambitious and experimental prog rock with the testosterone fuelled metal that Killer Be Killed have opted to produce.

The sheer strength of this one song provides a false sense of comfort however, as despite a number of quality tunes popping up throughout the album, none of the remaining material manages quite to impress in the same way. The all out vitriol of "Face Down", a song heavily dominated by Cavalera, whose savage growls lead the remaining members into a song weaving the tribal, thrash fuelled brutality of Soulfly into the unhinged eccentricity of older Mastodon; as well as the explosive "I.E.D." near the end of the album, both result in very acceptable fist pumping moments, but overall it feels as though Killer Be Killed opt always to fire with every cannon when in fact the sensible thing would have been to temper two or three of the members' contributions and thus afford the song in question more perspective and coherence. Alas, the case seems to be here that everyone has felt the need to impress, and no one has been willing to compromise - with the exception of "Wings of Feather and Wax" and, to a large extent, "Face Down" and "I.E.D.", that is.

There are instances of Puciato, Cavalera & Sanders all fusing stylistic backgrounds with success: the transitioning from "Ire Works"-era Dillinger Escape Plan melancholy to inflaming battle grunts to the darkness and rhythmic madness of Mastodon circa "Blood Mountain" in track three "Melting of My Marrow" shows no symptoms of incongruence; and the hectic "Curb Crusher", too, oozes power albeit forfeiting its hard hitting nature in a cop-out chorus. But as the album progresses, so do these instances grow more scant. Mind you, never do Killer Be Killed hopelessly misfire - it's just that songs like "Snakes of Jehovah" and "Twelve Labors" (to name only a few examples) emerge as regrettably forgettable in the long run. Still, Killer Be Killed fare much better than most supergroups, managing at the very least to deliver an assortment of songs that instantly betray the prowess underlying their creation. You could home in on just about any track here, discounting the strange "Save the Robots" and "Forbidden Fire" perhaps, and have a jolly time headbanging. But as an album "Killer Be Killed" lacks the consistency necessary to place it in a league of its own. It's simply four talented musicians jamming together with mixed results.


Download: Wings of Feather and Wax, Face Down, Melting of My Marrow, Curb Crusher, I.E.D.
For the fans of: Cavalera Conspiracy, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon
Listen: Facebook

Release date 09.05.2014
Nuclear Blast

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