Let's spread the code amigos!
Killcode - actually not a good fit for a website called Unknown Metal Bands! I mean these guys are quite well known! Nevertheless, this obviously won't stop me to write about this fantastic band and their mind-blowing music! It is likely that there are going to be a few articles on Killcode as we have much to review! Killcode - Anthems for Outlaws, a Hard Rock band with Metal and Southern Rock influences. Sounds exciting! aK
To be completely honest, I got the first message from Tom Morissey back in December 2014 and a couple more thereafter. Despite their fame and fortune Tom never gave up! Let's see if I can make it up to him by doing a few quality posts. Let's start with their story so far.
Right at the beginning there was the Killcode frontman and vocalist Tom Morissey as well as guitarist Chas Banellis. That was back in 2008 when both of them were already in a band that was signed but for whatever reason did not work out. So, the two of them without any long-term plan wrote on a couple of songs and recorded them at their home studio. They both knew that they were made for the life of Rock and Roll!
However, two people don't really make a proper band (unless you are into the Pet Shop Boys...) so Tom and Chas went on to recruit Erric Bonsmith (bass guitar) and Rob Noxious (drums) to complete their rhythm section. Back then Rob was actually living in California but wanting to get back to New York so the social media blast put out by Mistress Juliya was the perfect opportunity. One audition later Rob was in the band. A little bit down the road followed Pat Harrington on second guitar but was soon replaced by D.C. Gonzalez. They were ready to rock!
All of the band members had different influences and managing to channel these they were able to create their own thing, describing their sound as heavy but melodic, dirty but polished, raw and emotional. I am no expert and have only been to the US once but trust me, when you listen to their music you won't believe that they actually hail from New York.
Now, I always want to dig deep but try and scroll on Facebook from the 2017 posts back to 2008! It's impossible, in fact, my browser crashed on several occasions and I even had to restart my computer a couple of times. Then again, being a huge fan of Saxon I remembered one of their older tracks called Never Surrender so I did a deep dive on Google. It is impressive to see how many reviews are done in a copy/paste fashion and then again, it is amazing how much information you can find if you just look for it!
But right now we are going to do a postmortem on their first EP called To Die For. This review will also conclude the first part of our series on Killcode! It is a 6 track EP and I have to be honest, it was a really great listening experience amigos!
The first track is called L.I.T.A. and thank god I managed to find a 2013 Facebook post that answered the question on what L.I.T.A. actually stands for: Legs In The Air. The track starts with guitars that are very distorted, almost at a level of being fuzzed, followed by some nice screeching. This sets the atmosphere for the track right away. The vocals are what we would call modern and very clear. It does not take a genius to figure out the great musicianship on this song and despite the guitars taking the lead role the drums stand out at the same time, one just needs to listen!
Truce has an awesome rhythm to start with but then slows down a bit and the track is almost relaxing for the next 20 seconds or so. This song is well varied and really powerful. You find the southern rock elements as well as some very heavy sections including a bit of so-called wah wah in the guitars towards the end. Not to mention a decent guitar solo to round things up. Truce is jam packed with surprises and an impressive piece of music.
Something Better is a ballad but as I am not into such songs I won't go any further - I won't do it justice either. I am sure the ladies love it though as Tom sounds very passionate and the acoustic guitars do the rest.
6 A.M. Again is more to my liking and smacks you in the face right away! Fast and powerful I also realize that it is really Tom's vocals that make Killcode sound so southern rock. There is something very unique about it and highly enjoyable. Moving on to Broken Heel the atmosphere is a bit dark in the beginning, a great sounding darkness though (if there is such a thing). At some stage you will notice the gallop rhythm that has been used by many of Metal's greatest bands and sounds amazing each and every time!
Before we wrap things up we have one more tune in store: Going Down Slow. Great start with a catchy rhythm on drums, some distant sounding vocals with the guitars joining little by little, eventually taking over. When I talked earlier of the great musicianship it is essential to understand how important the bass is on all these tracks (well leave out the ballad of course) - this is how Killcode comes across as an ensemble and sounds so powerful. Again, there is a big variety of elements incorporated: a great solo around 3 minutes into the track, a great refrain and of course a lot of loud and heavily distorted guitars!
Now, this is it for now. There will be more but no promises on the when. I am soon off to the Bang Your Head Festival and guess what? Killcode is making an appearance on the main stage. Who knows, maybe I come back with a few pictures from their gig! Until then please enjoy Truce, my favorite track on this EP.