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Kill City – Last Man Standing

Kill City
Last Man Standing
by Mark Machlay at 18 January 2022, 6:16 AM

The fresh hard rock/heavy metal band KILL CITY from Ecuador only recently formed and have already released their debut album “Last Man Standing” over a year ago in South America but is now getting an international release on February 4th, 2022. The core of the band was formed in 2019 between the Neme brothers with Chemel on vocals and Luis on drums along with Andreas Miranda on bass and a dual guitar assault from Xavier Diab and Juan Iturralde. There was a long-standing friendship between the members having been bandmates many years ago and the band was initially started as an idea but quickly became a passionate, musical reality.  Their influences are clearly classic hard rock and heavy metal, but they delve into other interesting genres such as power metal. The band are not sitting on their recent debut either and already have 15 songs – enough for a whole new album – ready to record for their sophomore effort.

KILL CITY toiled for 12 months to release “Last Man Standing” and the passion on their debut is palpable throughout all eleven songs. The cover of the album is hand painted artwork by a local artist named Jose Luis Choez, depicting a simple idea which is that of a lone samurai, standing against a stark city backdrop. Regarding the artwork, the band states, “Samurais followed a code. After a battle, he is still standing, although injured and the city is burning in the background. Maybe he won, maybe he lost, but he fought, and, in the end, he is the last man standing for his ideals.” Several of the members have worked with the likes of Kai Hansen of both GAMMA RAY and HELLOWEEN as well as Timo Tokki of STRATOVARIUS. With friends like that, you can understand that they are highly capable musicians/producers with this album being mixed by Chemel Neme himself and mastered by Svante Forsbäck who has had a long history working with bands like DRAGONFORCE, LORDI, and SONATA ARCTICA.

I can’t say that KILL CITY is necessarily forging a new path and treading new ground but their work on “Last Man Standing” is certainly high quality in the style of late 80’s power/heavy metal. They are quite reminiscent of early HELLOWEEN with less emphasis on speed with a singer that emulates Michael Kiske and even at times shares tones with that of Geoff Tate as well. The closest they get to the speeds of HELLOWEEN are in “Wake Up” – the first track after the instrumental opener – as well as the natively sung “Empezar De Nuevo” and in sections of “Believe Me”. Being a band from South America, I liked when they dipped more into their roots with aforementioned “Empezar De Nuevo” and bonus track “Sigue La Voz” as it introduced a unique quality for the band. They add progressive elements like the instrumental intro track “Paradoxical Dream” featuring orchestral arrangements and a bit of a continuing story when the next track is named “Wake Up”. The album has a ton of killer hooks and Neme emulates the late 80s singing style so well, plus the guitar tone is particularly clear, crisp and crunchy, I must say. It’s a great debut for KILL CITY and I hope to hear that promised sophomore album sooner rather than later.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Paradoxical Dream
2. Wake Up
3. Countdown
4. Against Myself
5. When the Show is Over
6. Grey
7. Believe Me
8. Empezar De Nuevo
9. Follow Your Heart
10. Last Man Standing
11. Sigue La Voz
Lineup:
Chemel Neme – Vocals
Andres Miranda – Bass
Luis Neme – Drums
Xavier Diab – Guitar
Juan Iturralde – Guitar
Record Label: Music-Records
     


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