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Mr.Kill - The Day of Reckoning

Mr.Kill
The Day of Reckoning
by Kira Schlechter at 15 August 2020, 4:05 AM

When can a 26-minute EP seem long? When a bit of editing in each song is needed. Melodic Melbourne metal/death metal band MR. KILL has plenty of good ideas on “The Day of Reckoning,” but that’s the rub – they have a little too many of them. “The Descent,” the intro, is foreboding wafts of sound, like something’s “coming down,” as it were. It includes what sounds like thumps on the strings on an open piano.

The first official track, “Annihilation” is set to a brisk tempo, it’s nicely sharp and well mixed, but you do wish they’d get to it after a fairly long introduction. It has an interesting structure of not quite verses and a “chorus” that comes once and doesn’t come again til the very end and a longer “bridge” midway through – said bridge has a stomping groove full of feedback and distortion (a technique they use a lot…remember that). The end has the same feedback guitar with blast beats underneath. Justin often has an Aussie accent in his bellowing, especially when he exaggerates and elongates his vowels.

The subject matter in the first section touches on environmental destruction (“The sky is falling/On an earth now cracked”), our divided society (“The world divided/In equal parts,” like the haves and have nots, lefts and rights, progressives and conservatives), and perhaps a divine retribution (“The wrath of hellfire I slay my enemies”). That ”chorus” is again social commentary (“Plague bearing parasites/Feast on our lands/The world is torn/Apart again/Odious tyranny/Upon us all”). The second section seems to make more specific observations (“Reason is lost in silence” and “Force-fed complacency/Chaos feeds on incalculation” and “No sympathy/No remorse/Subjugation/Floods the world”). And the third section is us trying to make things better (“Enlightenment we seek/Lost,” and “We still hunger for truth/All we ever/Find is sorrow” and “Our most sincere endeavors are in vain”). Later in that same part is an interesting set of rhetorical questions (“When will retreat lose its allure/When we are mere steps from the edge?”). It’s long and it has an odd structure, but what it’s saying is certainly valid.

On the other hand, “Hatred” has a pretty straightforward sentiment (“My hatred still unfettered/Unbounded by time/I fucking despise you”), although who it’s directed toward is unknown. Three repeats of “My sanity wanes like wax (a very nice play on words, see what they did there?)/Clarified by boiling blood (also a nice play on words)/Hate, raw and unrelenting/The all-consuming flood”) might be one too many, but I do appreciate the imagery and cleverness. Musically there’s plenty of quality riffing, and in that thrice-repeated section, they play more with feedback and distortion, stretching the sound out and back like a rubber band. The fade-out is some precise triplet riffing as a main melody undercut and filled out and lengthened by fuller, almost Middle Eastern melodies beneath. Their laissez-faire attitude toward structure is definitely the death metal part of their pedigree.

“Valiant Amusement” boasts the nicest guitar work, melodically speaking, on the EP thus far – it’s evocative, nearly orchestral, full of that rapid strumming we know from WOLFHEART at the beginning. They kind of lay off the feedback a bit on this one, using it only as punctuation, and the ending melody is dense and dark. The drumming too is varied, from blasts to more straightforward grooves, the cymbal sound thick and balanced. Again, this could be tightened by removing the repetition of what might be the chorus (“I will sow my will/In you as with the rest,” etc.) – it’s repeated twice and then twice again later when once each time would likely do. The title is a bit odd in some ways, but in others, it’s clever, like this is someone searching for diversion with all they’ve got and sucking everything out of everyone they meet (“Another day/Another body/Another name/Same amusement” and “I’ll take what’s mine/Everything that you’ve achieved/I empty you and I’m complete”).

“Oblivion” is marked by a couple of sections of a spooky female choral-type vocal (at the beginning, midway through) – not sure of the point of it, but it is an interesting sound in the midst of the crush of the song. It’s a bit more midtempo at the start (with more feedback), but the chorus gets more sharp and driving. Those choral vocals head into a longer instrumental section after the bridge and the ending guitar/drum riff has a head-bobbing, bouncing groove.

There’s some powerful lyrical content here, and pointed commentary – that we have a higher purpose than the mundane and that in indulging that, we are suffering “our autonomy’s eclipse.” There’s also some impressive vocabulary in “Now is the time to overcome/To transcend the life force-fed/To repudiate infinite impositions.” It’s an urging to not waste time, to find meaning before it’s too late (“Here, exhausted time was lost/Gone forever and not to return/Dissolved in our oblivion”). It changes perspectives, from “our” and “we” to some omniscient “I,” but who is speaking isn’t immediately clear. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches, so much of a good thing that it loses a bit of immediacy.

“Elegy,” the bookending short instrumental finale, is surprisingly tender, well-played piano, the melody played first at a lower octave, then a higher one. It might be a throwaway or an afterthought, but it’s a mighty nice one. There’s a lot to be said for conciseness – when you have a good idea, whether it’s a lyric or a guitar sound or whatever, sometimes it’s best to say it once or twice and that’s it. It’s more memorable that way. Repetition, rather than driving a good point home, can be, well, repetitive.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Descent (Intro)
2. Annihilation
3. Hatred
4. Valiant Amusement
5. Oblivion
6. Elegy (Outro)
Lineup:
Justin Ks - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Scott Henderson - Lead Guitar
Baltion (Toni) Radi - Bass
Xines - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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