Six years after their critically acclaimed self-titled debut-album, Killer Be Killed finally came around and released their long awaited sophomore effort. Considering this is a supergroup, six years of waiting for a record isn’t all that bad I guess (It’s been eleven years and counting for Them Crooked Vultures-fans. And the future doesn’t look bright, as John Paul Jones doesn’t get any younger).
Truth be told, I was really looking forward to this record. While I am a Mastodon-fan for quite some time now (since February 2020 to be precise. I’m late to the party. I know), and am a fan of Max Cavalera’s various formations since I first saw him live with Cavalera Conspiracy at Nova Rock 2009 (I’ll never forget him saying „Come on, Australia! Jump the fuck up!“), I have to admit, that I’m not really familiar with neither Dillinger Escape Plan, nor Converge. What I do know of Greg Puciato though, is that his voice is just as epic and awesome as Troy Sanders’, or Max Cavalera’s. How do I know that? Killer Be Killed’s debut of course.
Albums from all-star-bands are always interesting to listen to. They can range from utterly great, such as the aforementioned debut of KBK, to absolutely abysmal. The latter usually happens, because the egos of the participants clash a little too hard, or ’cause the record sounds like the musicians couldn’t agree on a direction. Reluctant Hero sounds a little like the latter was the case. It doesn’t suffer from it though. It somehow thrives because of it.
The album starts off with the two, prior to the record, released singles Deconstructing Self-Destruction, and Dream Gone Bad. It feels like the band threw 13 genres of music in those two songs alone. Both songs are quite similar, yet also years apart from each other. If the last few sentences sound like complete and utter bullshit to you (they do a little to me), here’s a simpler one: Both are bangers. And they are followed by the groove-fest that is Left of Center, which in turn is followed by the awesome Inner Calm from Outer Storms, which fittingly starts soothing and calm, yet turns into a storm before the song is over (Coincidence? I’ll let you decide). The furiously punky Filthy Vagabond ends the first half of the album, and by now I’m thinking to myself: “Holy hogger! What a great record. Can they keep this up?”. Sadly, they can not.
From a Crowded Wound feels a little, like someone in the studio said: “Oi ma dudes! The record lacks a seven minute long song. Let’s just slow this track down, so it gets longer!” The riff is pretty dope though. Too bad, that after an awesome first half, my ears are now sophisticated and adjusted to a higher standard. While Animus, Dead Limbs and Reluctant Hero are still very good tracks, they can’t quite reach the heigths of what came before.
All in All, after six years of waiting, Killer Be Killed delivered a great album, that is a little more chaotic, and a little less melodic than their first one. But it still pretty great.
I for my part, am really excited for 2026, when the next KBK-album (possibly) drops. I’m a Song of Ice and Fire-fan, which means I’m used to waiting (and being disappointed by alleged release-dates).
I like music. All of it. Except for schlager… And ballermann. Oh boy do I hate ballermann.