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Killer Be Killed - Reluctant Hero Award winner

Killer Be Killed
Reluctant Hero
by Eric Poulin at 12 January 2021, 1:27 AM

KILLER BE KILLED is a groove metal supergroup based out of the United States and who have been around since 2011. This is their second album entitled “Reluctant Hero” which was released through Nuclear Blast Records on November 20th, 2020. For those of you who are not familiar with this project, it revolves around Max Cavalera and his vision to have a groove metal supergroup after the SOULFLY sessions of the album “Omen” and the idea was to have 3 vocalists who are staples in their respective genres that vary from doom – stoner to metalcore. On their self-titled first record in 2011, they clearly had every singer shine through the songs and show off their influences and styles. This album is no different.

From the opener “Deconstructing Self-Destruction” we get a little bit of everything from the essential grooves that have been a recipe for success in Max’s compositions to a little of thrash metal and when the music decides to pound through your ears like a sledgehammer, you have the bassy voice of Troy Sanders and the higher-pitch style of Greg Puciato (and that is a recurring theme throughout). It is followed by the extremely catchy and melodic (although sometimes quite aggressive) track “Dream Gone Bad” which was the very first glimpse the fans got from this album way back in October. The song has that perfect balance of harmony and absolute chaos, where the song catches your soul with its memorable chorus, it also gets your heart pumping with the upbeat parts as well.

It is almost difficult to really pin-point highlights, because every song has a purpose on the album and captures those emotions that are embedded in the Max Cavalera family, but a song like “Inner Calm from Outer Storms” has the more spacy aspects we would be more accustomed to from DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and boy do the vocals of MASTODON’s riff master really pierce through the speakers on this one. When you need the song to have sheer hate, well enter Max to make sure his point makes it across.

The CAVALERA CONSPIRACY tinged “Dead Limbs” is a great thrashy piece mixed with some nice vocal harmonies, but it really does mess around and is possibly one of the most violent songs on the entire album. If you enjoy that slowly develops into an amorphis (no pun intended) of crushing riffs and a doomier approach, then you will absolutely love the song “From a Crowded Wound”. While it is a slower number, it is definitely one of my favorites here (it bears a few resemblances to the more sinister MACHINE HEAD songs). The absolutely ominous tone to the song mixed with the always sensational vocal stylings of Greg Puciato make this track an absolute classic that needs to be played live.

Again, as I mentioned earlier there are no weak songs here, just different tempos and transitions that mix perfectly with the song that follows and the album closer “Reluctant Hero” has some really amazing clean vocals and does share a little something special with the song “Hurt” by the industrial pioneers NINE INCH NAILS. The atmosphere and the shades in the guitars are what reminded me of the latter and the drum patterns as well, but it does not have any industrial elements (if you are worried about the band going in that direction).

What an absolutely amazing record, I did not think this supergroup would be able to surpass their first release, as to me that album was absolute perfection. 10 years have passed since that album was released and this one sounds so fresh, genuine and perfectly constructed. Having 3 stunning vocalists and songwriters together, sharing the spotlight in each song and bringing in their own flavor is literally music to my ears. If you have never heard of this band, listen to this album, even if you are not a fan of their own bands, I am certain you will enjoy a lot of the songs for quite some time.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Deconstructing Self-Destruction
2. Dream Gone Bad
3. Left of Center
4. Inner Calm from Outer Storms
5. Filthy Vagabond
6. From a Crowded Wound
7. The Great Purge
8. Comfort from Nothing
9. Animus
10. Dead Limbs
11. Reluctant Hero 
Lineup:
Greg Puciato - Vocals, Guitars
Max Cavalera - Vocals, Guitars
Troy Sanders - Vocals, Bass
Ben Koller – Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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Edited 18 January 2021
 

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