Review: “Reluctant Hero” by Killer Be Killed

How often do we use the words “highly anticipated” and “supergroup” in the current era of Metal? It has been six long years since 2014’s self titled debut from Killer Be Killed, a band which features Greg Puciato on vocals and guitars, formerly of The Dillinger Escape Plan and currently in The Black Queen, Max Cavalera of Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy and formerly Sepultura and Nailbomb fame also on vocals and guitars with Mastodon and Gone Is Gone man Troy Sanders on vocals and bass, leaving Converge, Mutoid Man and All Pigs Must Die drummer Ben Koller the only man not contributing vocally. Many fingers, many pies? The first album was a tornado of souls, will the sophomore effort live up to the hype that surrounds it?

Before the album was released we received a gift wrapped trio of singles from Nuclear Blast, the first one being the album opening cut “Deconstructing Self-Destruction“; each one of the trio of vocalists intertwining their parts like a three headed dragon, taking the best each vocalist has to offer and imprinting it firmly into the heart of the track. What the band do, as they have done before, is combine the melodic and the heavy at the same time with a blistering energy. Some riffs are distinctly Max Cavalera, while others are far more Alternative Metal. The same is true of second single “Dream Gone Bad“, a seamless blend of styles that peaks and troughs in its heaviness while also having a classical sound and an addictive nature. There are clear influences from the likes of Led Zeppelin and Soundgarden on “Left Of Center” as it rages through, tempo shifting to suit the emotive vocal parts and capture the feeling being portrayed. There is an unflinching affinity for Pop music in some of the chorus which comes from Puciato while Sanders brings that Hard Rock soul, the pair play off each other vocally impressively, picking up the dynamic they had previously and running with it. Koller offers tribal percussive elements to “Inner Calm from Outer Storms“, which has that slow build burn that tells you something almighty is on the way before they step up and Cavalera’s gruff bark lets loose amid some heavier riffs to close out in style. The rager that is “Filthy Vagabond” wears its influences on its sleeve; a very distinctly Motorhead esq track with Sanders harnessing his inner Lemmy Kilmister and it’s a fitting tribute to the late hero from start to finish, even if it is a little more polished sounding than their works. Slowing things down for the menacing groove of “From a Crowded Wound“, a song shrouded in the darkness of mental anguish, lyrically penned in poison ink with a cut glass punch back during the final third that turns the lost soul into a raging bull in the kind of cosmic Progressive Sludge Metal soundscape that the likes of High On Fire create.

A lot has been said about Deftones influence on “The Great Purge” and Puciato does mimic Chino Moreno’s vocals in places but there is so much more to the song than that, the heavier parts that Sanders sings over being something born out of 70’s Hard Rock before the ripping final third sees a Speed Metal ending with Cavalera bringing the brutality down like a tidal wave of consciousness, awaking the protagonist from a haunting dream. “Comfort from Nothing” continues the haunted vibe that runs through a number of the cuts here with plenty of meat on the bones of the chugging riffs. It doesn’t necessarily stand out in it’s own right, but it keeps the flow of the album intact before the short and fast single verse ripper that is “Animus” tears down the blue skies like a Superjoint Ritual cut, a necessary incendiary hardcore punk injection that blows away some of the cobwebs of the longer cuts. That higher energy, full throttle approach is maintained in “Dead Limbs“, a much more powerful cut that rages with a beautiful melodic drop out mid song. Each member of the band shines here with a freedom to create that they don’t necessarily get in their day to day projects with the weight of expectation off their broad shoulders. The title track is a fine example of that, a somber and sobering affair that builds into a crescendo of epic grandeur and a majestic quality that you might not expect to find here [8/10]

Track listing

  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

Reluctant Hero” by Killer Be Killed is out now via Nuclear Blast

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.