I’m speechless. I don’t even know where to begin with this thing. What’s this thing, you ask? Why, it’s Killer Be Killed, the debut album from metal supergroup Killer Be Killed. Supergroup, I hear you snorting derisively? You’re saying the only decent metal supergroup ever was Nailbomb? You were correct, right up until this glorious demonstration of what people with real talent can do was unleashed upon the world.
Let’s start at the very beginning. That seems a very good place to start. Greg Puciato and Max Cavalera (yes, Greg from Dillinger Escape Plan and Max freaking Cavalera) started hanging out and, presumably, talking about making an album together. That was about three years ago, but damn it, the wait was worth it. They teamed up with Troy Sanders and David Elitch and yes, for those of you keeping score at home, this is an album written by members or Dillinger, Sepultura, The Mars Volta and freaking Mastodon, which is as awesome as it sounds and it sounds like this:
Yep. Rest assured, that is the best song on the album, but then, all the songs are the best song on the album. This thing is freaking perfect. Puciato, Sanders and Cavalera all share vocal duties, but none of them jostle for the spotlight. Puciato’s caustic shrieks could sheer through plate steel, complemented by his nasally cleans that you either love or hate (I, for the record, love them like my firstborn). He flawlessly intertwines with Sanders’ husky gut singing that sounds like it’s been wafted through a campfire at the bottom of a mountain in the Pacific Northwest, while Cavalera does that roar he does. You know the one. Don’t play that game.
Don’t even get me started on the musicianship. Sanders’ rumbling bass is pleasing to the ears, while Puciato riffs his manic, buffed-up heart out on the guitar, showing he’s far more than a crowd surfing screamer who defecates on stage, as does Max Cavalera. Elitch, for his part, absolutely nails his role on the skins, but then, the dude was in The Mars Volta. You could give him four upside down buckets and a saucepan on a stick and he’d still make them sing like birds.
My favourite part, however, is that the entire record is just so cohesive while being ludicrously variable. Every song is different and yet they seamlessly flow from each to the next. This is metal at its best: so variable that you have no idea where each song will take you, and you’d love to consider where the journey will take you, but you don’t have time because you’re too busy moshing and headbanging.
These songs are brilliant. I tried to narrow down which songs were the best but I couldn’t. “Melt My Marrow” and “Curb Crusher” are heavy-as-shit slammers with shades of Blood Mountain-era Mastodon as Sander’s smoky husk drifts gently over sun-kissed valleys and snow-swept mountains. Meanwhile, “Snakes of Jehova” is an all-out thrash assault and opener “Wings of Feather and Wax”…well, you heard it, didn’t you? Awesome, yes? Finally, “I.E.D.” is sublimely composed and closer “Forbidden Fire” shows off KBK’s ‘sensitive’ side.
In closing, I’m giving this a nine out of ten, but only so our editor won’t eat me alive. Personally, I despise scores for any kind of artistic output, be it visual, aural, written or any other medium. I feel that a) ranking an artistic creation on an arbitrary, subjective scale cheapens the effort exerted and b) I don’t think that a complex opinion can come even close to being accurately represented numerically. I therefore say this: if you like metal, shut up and get this album when it’s released in America on May 13, 2014 (May 9 in Europe) in good stores everywhere. It is absolutely sublime, the Simon to Hellyeah!’s Garfunkel.