Kill The Lights – The Sinner
Released: 21 August 2020
James Clark // Vocals
Jordan Whelan // Guitar
Michael “Moose” Thomas // Drums
Travis Montgomery // Guitar
So who doesn’t love super-groups? It’s like one of those Marvel movies where all the superheroes from their own respective flicks come together to conquer the world for the money-shot. Well, imagine that, but in the form of a metal band. Enter Kill the Lights. The band features James Clark (ex-Throw The Fight) on vocals, Jordan Whelan (Still Remains), Travis Montgomery (ex-Threat Signal) on guitar, oh and last but not least – uh, this is no big deal or anything but freakin’ Michael “Moose” Thomas (ex-Bullet For My Valentine) on drums. I told you it was ‘super’. Well, Kill The Lights are dropping their debut LP ‘The Sinner’, and it’s a metallic feast – so hope you’re hungry.
Let me take you back in a time machine (humour me for a moment). We’re in the DeLorean together, and we think about some of those golden era Bullet For My Valentine days – so we head to the noughties, ah yes, wallet-chains and studded belts – the good old times. Take a breath and scream, aim and fire – well that’s how the opening track ‘Shed My Skin’ sounds from the bloody get-go. Moose is firing on all cylinders from behind the kit immediately, and Clark wants you to know he’s got roaring vocal chords, but with clean variation too. The song is a really nice tribute to the band’s respective family bands (even though there’s obviously one of those bands that’s particularly front-of-mind for this album), and gets you excited for what’s yet to come (shredding guitar solo and all).
That wasn’t even the full entree, let’s get stuck into it. ‘The Faceless’ bleeds older classic metal vibes, with technical guitar solos, front and centre. This number is more melodic and also thrashier than what we’ve heard already. Clark’s raspy voice is outstanding as it balances on the band’s well-orchestrated instrumentation. The chorus gives a bit of an older school Black Veil Brides vibe – in the best way possible, it’s kind of got that melodic vocal effort, on top of blistering guitars and signature drums at a steady pace. And then – out of nowhere, this Matt Heafy ‘Martyrs’ scream appears, and it’s nostalgic as fuck. Let’s keep the keys in the Delorean. Man, this album is going to have some range – and it’s damn refreshing.
Alright, let’s take a look at Kill The Lights’ single ‘Through The Night’, one of the various songs chosen for the band to continue introducing themselves to the world. It’s an interesting choice, because it’s far less heavier than the preceding tracks on the record (and the rest of the album for that matter). Enter rock/metal ballad. Let’s just say your tears don’t fall, they crash into some beautifully produced HD bliss. The drums are fast, but also soft, on top of prolonged riffs where the vocals carry the track. Clark can really hold his notes and brings in an emotive edge to the song – really drawing you in (making it understandably chosen as a single). The song is about mental health and Clark’s personal experiences, so many might find this one relatable and cathartic. In case you didn’t get enough if it in the tracks beforehand, the song breaks down into a little metal medley where the engine gets revved across the board.
The slower number leads us into sexy metalcore territory. The guitars have major Bullet vibes, and Moose complements this at the kit. I really like the alternating clean/growl vocals between chorus and verse, respectively. This track is a real head-banger and starts satisfying that hunger. I think we’re ready for mains after digging into a bit of finger-food.
‘Open Your Eyes and ‘Plagues’ give you another taste of the band’s alternating musical styles, with the former being heavier and with varying rock ballads, and the latter slowing back down to a similar essence of ‘Through the Night’. Whilst it’s slow and less of a head-bang, this mid-record track reveals a really nice chorus and very carefully thought out musical writing – one to appreciate for sure.
Alright, guitar nerds put your bibs on and get ready for ‘The Enemy’. Montgomery and Whelan certainly display some virtuosic attributes here. The track opens with stinging riffs, progressing at a phenomenally rapid pace. Clark jumps in with rough cleans and transitions to cleaner cleans in the chorus, whilst Moose is going wild on drums, and maintaining that noughties nostalgia for us. The mid-section gets crunchy and Clark gets filthy on the mic. The guitars are spilling out of control, yet with organisation – that’s the impressive part. This is a really nice metal track, it’s demonstrative that there are still bands out there who aren’t just delivering that rinse-and-repeat metalcore sound, that are just flushed with continuous breakdowns.
‘Sober’ and ‘Rest’ offer an opportunity to wash down that huge main serve with some whiskey, featuring similar styles to what we’ve heard before on this album. Well if you’re ready for desert, you should join me on the back-end of this debut LP for tracks ‘Unmoved’ and ‘Chasing Shadows’, ‘cause they’re worth sticking around for before we jump back into the Deleorean to re-enter our pandemic-filled disaster, that is 2020.
‘Unmoved’ starts off steadily with some lovely riffs to whet your taste buds, but don’t taste too much, or you’ll find the poison (with gang-vocals). Man, I’m enjoying these old-school Bullet vibes almost as much as I’m loving the incredibly awful dad-joke innuendos referencing Moose’s stardom and resurrected sound. Clark puts on some truly Matt Tuck-familiar vocals, both through screams and cleans. The band is working in harmonious unison, and operating at full capacity. When the band are playing fast, they’re all in their own zones, and you’ll be playing your part in this dinner-party too, banging your head from start to finish.
Alright, maybe we’ll need a couple more shots of whiskey to finish off this many-course-meal. ‘Chasing Shadows’ closes Kill The Lights’ first album with some huge pace and technicality. Moose is utilising the whole kit effectively, and Clark is spitting hard into the mic, splitting his vocal chords with emotion. The track cuts to a melodic balance all-round, and maintains that noughties-metal feel. With some sweet guitar solos, and deep vocal thrashes, the song ends peacefully, with an essence of satisfaction to having embodied the band’s character across this track, and the eleven before it.
Honestly though, if you miss some of that noughties-era metal, you’ll love this one, and be begging for more immediately.
Kill The Lights – The Sinner tracklisting
- Shed My Skin
- The Faceless
- Watch You Fall
- Through The Night
- Open Your Eyes
- Tear Me Apart
- The Enemy
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