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A Killer’s Confession - Unbroken

A Killer’s Confession
Unbroken
by Anna Chase at 25 July 2017, 9:55 AM

All other points aside, the first thing that stood out to me when I first looked at the members of A KILLER’S CONFESSION (or AKC, I’ll call them for short) was the name of their vocalist, Waylon Reavis. I’m pretty familiar with Reavis, he’s known mostly for his work with the Nu-Metal band MUSHROOMHEAD before he left after 11 successful years with them. I loved MUSHROOMHEAD when I was a kid just starting to get into metal, so they have a bit of the nostalgia factor for me, and I continued to be a fan as I became more involved in the genre. I was a ride-or-die supporter of the band who would argue to anyone who’d listen that SLIPKNOT’s success was all because of MUSHROOMHEAD’s work, etc, etc. However, when Reavis decided to quit, the band’s momentum slowed and sadly, I stopped listening to them. Reavis, good citizen that he is, took a brief hiatus from the music industry to work with children in a residential facility before returning (to the delight of many of his fans) to form AKC in 2016 with Trumpy, Elliott, Cross, and Dale. Cross had known Reavis for years, ever since their days together in 3 QUARTERS DEAD, and the two lived close together and were good friends. The rest of the members are, as Reavis said in an interview for Loudwire, “…the backbone of A Killer’s Confession and were meant to be in this band.” Given the shrouded mystery of a debut album from musicians with countless years of experience in one of my favorite genres, I was thrilled to be able to review this one.

The first track, “Awakening”, opens with the classic siren that’s used so much in the Nu-Metal genre. However, the overall tone of this track was much heavier than I’m used to from bands like KORN and SLIPKNOT. The chugging guitar and bass riffs were done with rhythmic precision, and while this didn’t really feel like a fully-formed track to me, I think it worked well as just a snippet of an intro to showcase the band’s sound and aggressive attitude they wanted to put out. “Spawn of Seven” is a bit of a throwback to some of Reavis’s earlier Industrial/Nu-Metal work. The mixture of a lighter, Melodic Rock-esque chorus and the gritty, distorted vocals in the verses is a cool juxtaposition. However, my biggest qualm about this particular track is that the vocals in particular are overly distorted and their production is just not good. The guitars and drums are musically solid, though, and I’ll give it to AKC, they know how to write hooks. In

“Rebirth”, which Reavis says represents the message of the album as a whole, a thumping bass riff dominates a lot of the intro and lays down a solid background for the rest of the track. Luckily, the quality and tone of the vocals is much better in this song, and I found myself kind of enchanted by the ghostly, haunting melodies Reavis lays down. The drumming here is also a highlight. Dale knows just the right amount of power and complexity to add to his beats, and performs them in a way that showcases his talent but doesn’t overwhelm the other instruments. “A Killer’s Confession” is a song I was really looking forward to hearing. It features Head (from KORN) on guitar, and I was eager to see if the song could break away from KORN’s very distinct style of Nu-Metal when starring one of their key band members. It’s a hell of a good song, don’t get me wrong. However, it was pretty similar in style to KORN’s work, especially with the low, whispered vocals and high, trembling synth. It’s darker and heavier than a lot of KORN though, and undoubtedly catchy, with lots of rumbling riffs and engaging rhythmic shifts.

“1080p”, to my surprise, brought both the Nu-Metal/Industrial power and energy as well as a clean, light Alt-Rock melody in the chorus. Strangely, the chorus went well with the polar  opposite verses, and this song was one of my favorites on the album. It showcased Reavis’s vocal diversity. His sound seemed to have matured a lot since he left MUSHROOMHEAD. The guitars here were also slightly percussive, and blended perfectly to create layered harmonies in the chorus and pounding, heavy riffs in the verses. “Final Breath” is an absolutely killer track. It opens fast, with Reavis’s powerhouse voice blasting in, in the first seconds. AKC are masters at inserting catchy, radio hit hooks into grindingly heavy Alt- Industrial riffs, and this song is a prime example. The boundless energy of all the band members really shines through here, and the chunky stop-and-go rhythm the guitars, bass, and drums create is 100% head banging material. While it’s not always easy to distinguish the different guitar and bass parts in heavy tracks, together they create a flawless backdrop, especially here.

In “L.O.L.” (which stands for Life of the Lost), that same heaviness returns in the guitar and bass riffs, which accentuate the distorted, deep vocals in the verses. The chorus, or more specifically, the rhythm in the chorus, is the best part of this song. The band definitely takes inspiration from early KORN, especially in the structure and style of their tracks. The blasting, booming guitar riffs echo Welch and even Shaffer’s riffs from the early days of KORN. However, that’s not to say this piece isn’t musically solid or complex, because it’s both. “Reason” is a song that’s chock full of the energetic hostility that makes songs like “Down With the Sickness” so dynamic. The rhythmic shifts in this track are masterful in their own right. It’s not easy to completely flip a rhythm for the guitarists or bassist, especially in a fast-paced Nu Metal banger like this one. The same growling tone the guitar riffs have in many of the songs on this album clicks into place perfectly here, and compliments Reavis’s voice flawlessly.

In the last song, “Sympathy”, the band pulls in vocalist Kimberly Freeman from the band ONE EYED DOLL in order to perform vocals. This song was written as a response to a personal tragedy within guitarist Matt Trumpy’s family, so obviously it holds a lot of emotional value for Trumpy, as well as the rest of the band. It’s a lovely song, and at first listen seems upbeat and atmospheric. However, knowing the story behind it, there’s an element of melancholy which both elevates the song and makes it heartbreaking. The combination of Reavis and Freeman’s vocals adds another layer to the song, and the very real emotion behind the lyrics and melody makes it one of the most powerful on the album. Overall, being a Nu-Metal kid at heart and an Industrial fan now, this album was the best of both worlds. What impresses me the most is the ability of Reavis to quit such a well-known act and forge a path for himself and his very talented bandmates in the music industry in such a short time. While some of the album comes off as a little too similar in style to KORN, and some of the songs seem to lack some direction, it’s a musically solid album filled with catchy hooks, heavy riffs, and powerful energy which is reflected in the passion of all the musicians.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Awakening
2. Spawn of Seven
3. Rebirth
4. A Killer’s Confession (feat. Brian “Head” Welch)
5. 1080p
6. Final Breath
7. L.O.L.
8. Reason
9. Sympathy (feat. Kimberly Freeman)
Lineup:
Jon Dale- Drums
JP Cross- Bass
Waylon Reavis- Vocals
Paul Elliott- Guitar
Matt Trumpy- Guitar
Record Label: Ellefson Music Productions
     


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