Killer Be Killed – Reluctant Hero (Album Review)

Killer Be Killed – Reluctant Hero
Released: 20 November 2020

Lineup:

Greg Puciato | vocals & guitar
Max Cavalera | vocals & guitar
Troy Sanders | vocals & bass
Ben Koller | drums

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There is an ancient fascinating tale in Greek mythology about two characters, a father and son by the names of Daedulus and Icarus that to this day possesses a lesson of vital importance in how one should approach life. In this story, the father Daedulus constructs two pairs of wings out of feathers and wax to escape Crete by flight with his son Icarus; the wings prove to be successful but there is one limitation with the design which is the wings cannot withstand excess heat as the wax would melt and the feathers would disconnect making flight impossible. Icarus ignores this instruction and flies too high melting the wax from the heat of the sun causing the wings to dismantle and Icarus ultimately plummets to his death, drowning in the sea (known as the Icarus Sea). It is a tragic fable, but it is said to be the inspiration behind the idiom: “Don’t fly too close to the sun”.

For the three vocalists and bass player Troy Sanders (Mastodon), guitarist Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy) and guitarist Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Black Queen) their project known as Killer Be Killed which was unleashed upon the world in 2013 has such similar characteristics to the aforementioned narrative that the three musicians could be viewed as Daedulus and their band as Icarus. It is NOT coincidental that this comparison is used when the outfit’s introduction to the world was the single ‘Wings Of Feather And Wax’ inspired by that very story; however, the resemblance is uncanny.

Killer Be Killed released their remarkable debut self-titled album to the world in 2014, toured briefly in Australia as part of the Soundwave Festival and released two film clips then disappeared as if the whole project was a heavy metal mirage too perfect to exist. Similar to Icarus plunging to the depths of the ocean due to flying too high – possibly too “brutiful” for this world?

Perhaps it was demand? Perhaps it was insistence? Perhaps it was realisation? Perhaps it was a pandemic? Regardless, like the Titanic being discovered in 1985 from impossible depths, Killer Be Killed has been resurrected and it is mythologincredible.

Reluctant Hero begins with an ironically titled ‘Deconstructing Self-Destruction’ that is in all honesty TOO suiting due to the band being brought back to life and it thankfully holds no hesitation or fragility – the beast has been reborn similar to the dragon eggs in Game Of Thrones (a simple “Google search” of Mastodon and Game Of Thrones will support this analogy) and it is pure fire the band is breathing. The three vocalists exchange vocal flames that burn with brilliance – catchy yet menacing and compelling yet minacious – the question is though: Can Killer Be Killed maintain the blaze?

Truthfully, there isn’t a simple answer to this question and Reluctant Hero is once again a very fitting title; nevertheless, a fire burns in all directions and that is probably the best viewpoint for this LP. The members all have different musical backgrounds that fit under the “metal” genre – therefore, the fire will burn outwards covering all grounds, not inwards narrowing their prospects. The astounding aspect is that these musical icons do not force anything unnaturally, organically they are ablaze like an endless waterfall on an unending chasm of magnesium.

‘Dream Gone Bad’ exhibits the real power of the melodies that Troy and Greg harness but only occasionally seem to unveil in their actual bands – it is far more Mastodon than any of the other artists’ known identities yet there is more to unfold. Please remember, Max is a power without limits (the guy screamed for Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as The Scorpion King) so his presence needs to be known and gratefully it is – a heavy groove with an assault of his instantly recognisable tone is really Cavalicious (Cavalera + vicious, or delicious).

‘Left Of Center’ is basically the sequel to the track prior and then ‘Comfort From Nothing’ is the weird and heavier threequel that might be just a bit disturbing but the most memorable of the franchise. This is where the appreciation is above necessary, the exploration of the peculiar that would undoubtedly occur from these metal madmen – it is discomforting and even dividing, although there is wisdom in the waywardness.

‘Inner Calm From Outer Storms’ presents itself as a bizarre collaboration that could be found on the criminally underrated Spawn soundtrack; ‘Filthy Vagabond’ is quite possibly a lost Pennywise song from the amazing About Time era (just performed by marvellous musicians that do not perform in the punk genre) and ‘From A Crowded Wound’ somehow sounds like the shoot-out song for a gothic western film – no word of a lie, a crossover between The Crow and the Netflix series Godless

‘The Great Purge’ reeks of early Mastodon, Greg’s solo material and closes with angry Max – it is actually near (f)lawless and ‘Animus’ probably should have concluded the album, then again early Sepultura hasn’t been visited thus far until this point and ‘Dead Limbs’ continues this with some modernisation remarkably. The title track is essentially a Sevendust ballad and maybe KBK’s descent and farewell again; it’s a closing chapter but it isn’t a “close and conquer”. Even heroes need their ballad; Ozzy Osbourne has ‘Mama, I’m Coming Home’ – perhaps Killer Be Killed can be our “Watchers on the wall” as Reluctant Heroes would be.

Killer Be Killed – Reluctant Hero tracklisting:

  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

Rating: 9/10
Reluctant Hero is Out 20th November via Nuclear Blast. Pre-Order here
Review By Will Oakeshott (@teenwolfwill)

Revisit our interview with the god himself Troy Sanders chatting all things Killer Be Killed right here

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  1. Killer Be Killed’s Troy Sanders Assigns Each Member To A Sex & The City Character… Yes, Were Serious! – Wall Of Sound

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