Killer Be Killed Killer Be Killed

2014 Nuclear Blast Entertainment

Long live the supergroup?

Killer Be Killed - Killer Be Killed


Metal and supergroups have always been a risky proposition. All too often they collapse under the weight of clashing ego’s or wither due to time constraints. For every Down or Fantômas there’s a HELLYEAH or Audioslave that deliver divisive results.

Killer Be Killed are the latest union of established metal stalwarts to throw in together. With a lineup that consists of Soulfly‘s Max Cavalera (guitars/vocals;) The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s Greg Puciato (vocals/guitars;) Mastodon‘s Troy Sanders (vocals/bass) and ex-The Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch; there is undoubtedly a diverse range of personalities involved.

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Cavalera‘s short-lived Nailbomb project was often dropped as the reference point and impetus for how this project came to be. Given a solid listen, it would appear as though the gears gradually shifted as the pieces fell into place. For Killer Be Killed is no mere resurrection of the lo-fi industrial laced thrash attack of Nailbomb. For that matter, nor is it the knuckle dragging thrash of Soulfly; the space faring prog rock of Mastodon; or the stage destroying mathematical carnage of The Dillinger Escape Plan.

What it is instead is a welcome amalgam of almost all of the above and more. With nearly every member lending their vocals and input, the group vividly swerve through a diverse set of songs. Instrumentally however, the material leans closest to Mastodon‘s lysergic prog-learned sludge and Soulfly‘s unrelenting thrash.

With so many unique personalities vocally involved the stage is set for surprise. But what remains most shocking is the way they all bond and co-exist. Where Puciato‘s corrosive barks erupt with steel scorching fury, Sanders‘ detached croons and earthen bellows calm. When Puciato invokes the strained harmonies of Mike Patton, Cavalera brashly interrupts with primitive barks. Admittedly, Puciato and Sanders make up the majority of the vocals on this effort; but this also aid’s Cavalera‘s limited range in having greater effect.

That said, the mentions of Nailbomb weren’t just lip service. Those looking for that oft-teased taste need go no further than “I.E.D.“—a fitting tribute given its title and traditional thrash bombast. Various parts of “Fire To Your Flag” should also sate those who’ve worn out their copies of “Point Blank“. Unfortunately some elements of the lyrical content can be a bit pedestrian on tracks like these, but their bluntness also matches their fury.

It’s where the group branch off from any previous conceptions that the true magic happens anyway. The churning melody found in “Melting Of My Marrow” serves an immediate highlight, with clever vocal tradeoffs and a near magnetic pull. “Save The Robots” sees the band going futuristic, layering on effects to create a divergent excursion which at one point sounds like Cynic pleading their way out of a The Dillinger Escape Plan mosh pit. “Twelve Labors” trades a slowburn thrash riff for a ghostly bass line that is matched by howling guitars and another melodic séance from Puciato.

Meanwhile, the closing track, “Forbidden Fire“, may very well be the collective’s attempt to send the “Planet Caravan” plummeting to the ground in a Hindenburg-like fireball; methodically alternating between spacey low-key atmospherics and enraged outbursts.

What is most interesting about “Killer Be Killed” is not that it delivers, but how it acknowledges each participants background and implements them into one cohesive, diversified approach. Sure, hearing each of the players involved on the same song can serve as a fanboy’s wet dream.

But once you get past the initial shock and surprise of such a fluid display of some well-known musicians; there’s some truly memorable songs to delve into as well. That in itself is more than you can say for not only most supergroups, but most modern metal bands in general.