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Jessikill - Metal Knights

Jessikill
Metal Knights
by Kyle Harding at 26 October 2016, 10:13 AM

The Alamo, the Riverwalk, 32-oz steaks, 10-gallon hats, etc.: these are the things we happen to think about when San Antonio, Texas comes to mind. But what doesn’t always populate our imagination is the bubbling metal scene of talented bands that cut right across the grain in their fermenting counterculture. One of them is JESSIKILL; absolutely full of power and sonic force and has begun to make a name for themselves. Make no mistake, they are ambitious. They have been presented with several awards; best hard rock/metal band, best top local band, and best female performer from their encapsulated locality. They have also opened for numerous big names, including SYMPHONY X, OVERKILL, and SONATA ARCTICA, just to name a few. And all before the release of their recent debut EP. Needless to say, they have some big aspirations.

JESSIKILL’s debut effort, “Metal Knights”, soars with high vocals, punches with fiery strings, and soothes with synths. The EP comes across as a mix of pure, classic Power Metal with some Symphonic Metal elements, but not overbearing enough to remark a different genre. Even so, they have made their own sound and are looking to spread it to the world’s ears. Now we ought to take a listen.

Metal Knights” is a great entry statement, with plenty of promise for JESSIKILL, a band that’s trying to stand out in a world of common themes and tones, varying in degrees of power and melodiousness. The shockingly speedy, yet sometimes exquisitely-paced, overdriven and electrifying guitars are played by Jyro Alejo and Joey V., who each have their own distinct sounds in overdriven qualities, one being more crunchy and dirty and the other more clear cut. However, they work in conjunction to compose some intricate riffs and insane dual solos. Jyro even provides the sensational strings through the synth, a must for a unit of their style. Rumbling with the foundation is Arturo Alvarado on bass, who also delivers secondary and backup vocals. Smashing the kit is Alan Cisneros, with swift speed and accuracy, an ample drummer for a band of this caliber. Finally, the founder and face of the group, fronting with vocals is “JessikillEspinoza, who has a clear voice, shaking vibrato, and a kickass range.

The EP begins with an intro track, “March of the Knight”, which grows and grows to set the tone, but fades away only to be hit hard in the face with its lead in tune. Fading intros, though aren’t technically wrong, are a bit of a pet peeve of mine, as that buildup should be used to emphasize the beginning of the next song rather than stand separately. However, this is quickly forgotten with “Midnight Rush’s” immense power and soulful singing.

Our journey continues into the title track, “Metal Knights”, with a mind-blowing virtuosic intro riff. This is, quite frankly, my favorite song on the album. It’s short, sweet, and a real catchy tune, something I could foresee as a classic. But once the fun is over, we transition to something heavier and slower, reminded of the German Wehrmacht in “The Beast”. This track is more emotional, the kind of dip in power we need after something as wild as “Metal Knights”. “The Beast” is much more symphonic than the rest of the tunes on the EP and also happens to be the longest song, being just over 6 minutes. But once we think we’ve hit as somber as they dare to go, we’re then hit with acoustic bits in “Give It All”, just before springing back into fiery action with “Don’t Let Go”, concluding this quick, yet overall fun adventure with JESSIKILL.

For a first effort, JESSIKILL hit with a deadly strike and showed their promise as a growing band in the world of Metal. Their style is crisp but still carries the banner of old groups with the same spirit. Now it’s time for them to refine their sound a bit more and maybe get a bit more experimental, as they can sound a bit too… comfortable within their own confines. Even Jessikill Espinoza makes use of some shattering screams, however only too few and far between. Challenge yourselves, push boundaries, and you’ll find yourselves going even further.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. March of the Knight
2. Midnight Rush
3. Metal Knights
4. The Beast
5. Give It All
6. Don’t Let Go
Lineup:
Jessica “Jessikill” Espinoza - Vocals
Arturo Alvarado - Bass
Jyro Alejo - Guitar, Synth
Alan Cisneros - Drums
Joey V. - Guitar
Record Label: Independent
     


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