Review: “The Killing Season” by Guillotines

Hailing from Orlando Florida are a Guillotines, a quartet signed to Attila‘s Stay Sick Recordings and calling themselves “Musical Mercenaries” and promising to “break down precious heavy metals, while simultaneously pressurising hardened rock elements and infusing the liquid fire of molten hip-hop; casting it together and encasing it all in the highest form of superior empirical rhyme force ever known”. What?!

“Song of Guillotines” builds tension with a menacing vocal against a driven Nu-Metalcore backdrop that doesn’t quite reach the Nu-Deathcore it threatens to on occasion. The vocals mix up straight hip-hop flow with rap screams and gutterals that are fine enough but take some getting used to, such is the scatter gun approach. “Comin’ for You” starts out as a hip-hop tune with a rap vocal against a bare drum backdrop before the guitars and programming builds in alongside some clean sung vocals. Lyrically it doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done before and at times it gets cringe worthy really quickly. It’s 1999 all over again and Guillotines are threatening to be a nostalgia act with cuts like this one. “Chop Shop” should need no introduction as the words “Chop Chop Chop” have appeared on both prior tunes. It’s a hip-hop track with a programmed beat that doesn’t bring in any guitars until the last minute and then uses them to create a shock value with some uncleans however it’s not heavy enough to do any damage.

“Step on Scene” contains the heaviest passage of guitar work and unclean vocals during its real opening, after the first wave of hip-hop vocals. Again using the heavier guitars and unclean vocals to provide a shock factor, it works better this time around because it’s heavier and has more bark and more bite, making it easily one of the better cuts on the album. It’s a statement of intent piece and it works. “Make BeLIEve” is a Nu-Metal tune that fuses the programmed beats with some standard guitar work. The sung vocals during the chorus are backed back an unclean tone, while the rapped verses are distinctly flat and lacking any lyrical content. Has anyone heard of a band called Insolence who had a minor hit in “Death Threat” on Madonna’s label about 20 years ago? This could be from their back catalogue. “Supreme” continues the vibe of the previous tune but has much more bite and energy once it gets going than anything else on the album in it’s better parts. It’s clean vocal chorus lacks much that’s unique but the verse has something going for it. “Rawfare (All’s Fair)” is much of the same as most of the material on show here and mixes a rap vocal with a flat clean chorus.

The problem with “The Killing Season” is that there are pieces of the puzzle that work. A verse here, a breakdown there. There is no doubt some polish to the production but overall as a release it’s a piece of nostalgic Nu-Metal that only narrowly avoids sounding old and tired. Its roots are firmly in yester-year and why Stay Sick Recordings have signed the band has a big question mark attached to it because it’s not a release that is going anywhere. It’s a shame because with some of the elements on show here they could go somewhere but the desire to rap without that much new lyrical content leaves the handbrake firmly on [3/10]

Track listing

  1. “Song of Guillotines”
  2. “Comin’ for You”
  3. “Chop Shop”
  4. “Step on Scene”
  5. “Make BeLIEve”
  6. “Supreme”
  7. “Rawfare (All’s Fair)”

Review: “The Killing Season” by Guillotines is out now via Stay Sick Recordings

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