A supergroup consisting of Max Cavalera (ex-Sepultura/Soulfly), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Troy Sanders (Mastodon) and Dave Elitch (ex-The Mars Volta) Killer Be Killed was never going to fall on deaf ears, but to live up to the hype and expectation is a different feat entirely. With their expertly weaved chaos so perfectly balanced with melodies and grooves Killer Be Killed do just that.
The first song ‘Wings Of Feather And Wax’ starts with an ear piercing blast of distortion and you start to think that the album is going to be an intense, bombastic grind fest – and almost a waste of sheer talent. It’s not like that at all. Packed into just over 3 and a half minutes is everything that Metal anthems are made of; relentless drums, wailing guitars, a pounding thrash groove and choruses that just make you want to take your pint and your friends into the pit and scream till your lungs give out. It’s reminiscent of modern era Mastodon. That’s to be expected with Troy being so prevalent on the song and throughout the album, but with the change of musicians surrounding him there’s a different dynamic, a familiar sound but definitely not a regurgitation of previous work.
Greg’s iconic scream is at the forefront of track 2, ‘Face Down’ which is balanced and complimented by Troy’s vocals in the sludgier moments of this predominately Groove/Thrash, rager of a track. Max drops in for additional fire power on the vocal duties which just reinstates the calibre and range within Killer Be Killed. The familiar and legendary styles of Troy, Max and Greg are never compromised or in conflict with each other, it always sounds perfectly blended.
On the slower tracks ‘Melting Of My Marrow’, ‘Snakes of Jehovah’ and ‘Forbidden Fire’ Greg still sounds completely at home and is able to showcase his other vocal talents, over the years we’ve known him to find comfort in chaos but the melodic side he demonstrates on the album are really well placed and contrast well against the thrashy and intense backdrop. That’s not to say this album is a Post Hardcore album, expect a Thrash/Groove/ Sludge/Progressive/Hardcore sound, just don’t resign yourself to thinking Troy provides all the melody, Max provides the snarl and Greg only brings his hardcore wail, there is much more to it.
Dave Elitch is the probably the least recognisable face of Killer Be Killed but his drumming contributions do not go unnoticed. Most well known for his work with The Mars Volta you could be thinking where does he fit in with the band and how well does he adjust to a thrash sound? Mr Elitch does a good job in Killer Be Killed. He’s never overshadowed by the titans at the forefront of the band and he provides serious pace, complexity, power and ferocity. He constantly proves himself and makes worthy contributions. Especially on the second half of ‘Fire to Your Flag’, a part always makes me hit repeat and air drum along with him.
Like many tracks on the album ‘Dust into Darkness’ is destined to be massive song, it deserves to have hordes of festival goers chanting along in unison. The song is almost like a William DuVall era Alice in Chains song. ‘Dust into Darkness’ is a Grunge sounding anthem with an infectious chorus that resonates deep within. It’s a standout song on the album that somehow manages to not overshadow the two remaining songs.
Killer Be Killed has even managed to get the ordering of the songs right, a simple sounding task that most bands don’t manage to nail. The songs in the order they are leave you with a balanced sound, it’s not a jumble of mixed tempos, styles and songs. It’s a complete package and the methodical order of the songs adds to the coherence and perfection of the many genres blended on the album.
The Verdict – ‘Killer Be Killed’ is a magnificent album that has managed a rare feat, a supergroup that represents and blends the styles, influences and backgrounds of all members without contradicting or clashing with each other. You can sing, headbang, scream, drum, and thrash along to this album. It will keep you coming back to see if it was as good as you remembered it, only to find you love it even more.