Album: Left to Die – EP
With a name like Kill, there are really only two possibilities. The first is that you read the name and write them off—oh, you’ll think to yourself, contrite in your all-knowing smarminess, another band with a one-word, violent, “brootal” name. Yawn. The second possibility is that you’re drawn to it, wondering what they might have to offer—what does a band with a name like Kill really sound like, the open minded music enthusiast might ask.
Or, maybe a friend showed you in a car, or maybe you just stumbled across the lead single, “Domestic Silence” on your favorite YouTube channel or leak site—yeah there’s more than two ways this goes, but for the sake of the article’s introduction, lets say it’s just the first two.
The punchline is that if you’re willing to write Kill off on their name and dark imagery, you’re as much an idiot as you are a tryhard elitist. Left to Die is a pummeling work of pissed-off passion. Combining elements of heavy hardcore, metalcore, beatdown and some dirty south flair, Left to Die is a devastating release that stands as a testament to the dregs of originality left lurking throughout the basins of brutal music.
Kill capture brazen southern intensity without effort or elegance on Left to Die, giving the listener a heavy-handed taste of dissonant, devastating aggression on each track. Percussionist Kalan Watson is a steamroller, hammering out bulldozing patterns that work brilliantly with bassist Anthony McGee’s grating, grinding tone. Songs like the lead single, “Domestic Silence,” or album closer “Injected” highlight this excellently, where the second single and raucous mosh anthem “Left to Die” makes a better display of the dynamic between Watson’s drumming and the efforts of guitarists Jon Caldwell and Randy Doss. Caldwell and Doss are two leaden wrecking balls, using straightforward riffs and slamming segments both as weapons to totally obliterate anyone listening or witnessing it within a quarter mile radius. The climactic breakdown to “Domestic Silence” is proof enough, hammering away at the listener’s head until there is little more than pulp left. Likewise, when the band’s frontman barks welcome to the dirty south on the album’s title track, he means it—as Caldwell and Doss get right to work incinerating the listener with a crushing, unrelenting assertion of authority. True—the duo aren’t technical, and even within their genre, don’t spend much time “riffing,” but when they do, they instantly capture the listener’s utmost attention.
Likewise, frontman Spencer Letsinger has his own unique components to bring to Kill’s dynamic. In a time where every new heavy act’s frontman sounds like Dickie Allen’s incestuous offspring, Letsinger lashes out with a voice that is thoroughly his own. Low and grating without sacrificing energy or pointed aggression, Letsinger’s vocal and lyric work throughout Left to Die is immolating. Once more, the attention is drawn to “Domestic Silence,” which also sees Left Behind’s Zachary Hatfield hooping on the mic. This song, as well as “Injected” capture the variety Letsinger (aided by bassist McGee) is able to capture, just as excellently as it captures his proclivity for punishing and passionate lyricism. True—he may not take home a Pulitzer for poetry—but he will ensnare the ears and heads of just about every listener, especially those who have felt the unfortunate touch of abuse or victimization at the hands of another. In this regard, Letsinger shines, using Kill as a platform to speak and, probably, act at the behest of those unable or unwilling.
Left to Die isn’t a game changer. It’s insanely heavy, original and hard-hitting, but it lacks the staying power to make marked change on its own. However, it makes up for that with the band’s collective weight in potential, giving the group a foundation to build and branch from. Kill are talented and unique—and time has shown that combo to be more than enough to make a solid name for oneself. With 2018 winding down and a new year starting up, it seems only a matter of when—not if—Kill will strike again.
For Fans Of: 2X4, Left Behind, Bodysnatcher, Born a New
By: Connor Welsh