An acquaintance back in ye-olde-goth-days once passed the sage advice: “don’t be a goth if you don’t have a sense of humour about yourself.” When you are a bunch of makeup wearing Nancies it is safe to say others will sure as hell see the humour in you…but what if you are playing some of the most brutal music known to man? Your Grouchy Friend is a firm believer in the sense of humour maxim applied to his love of Death Metal…Pungent Stench comes to mind as a fine old school example. This little story brings us to Killitorous who may be the finest modern purveyors of brutal humour. If they weren’t already then “The Afterparty” sees them with their collective hands within reach of the chocolates.
On their long awaited follow up to 2014’s “Party, Grind” Killitorous continue to shamelessly meld blatant blast beat battery with sampled humour and hooks that will drive deep into your soul – and they’re expertly barbed so you know they aren’t going anywhere in a hurry. Produced and engineered by the three man guitar battalion of Aaron Homma, Nick Miller and Marc Roy, with Cryptopsy guitarist Chris Donaldson enjoying production, engineering, mixing and mastering credits, the sound is modern and focused – critical with such densely structured material. There are a number of acts who suffer from the clinical nature of contemporary heavy production values – as crisp, clean and spacious as is possible these days there is a tipping point where brutality is somewhat eschewed in favour of sonic expectations – Killitorous do not suffer from this ignominy and the album carries much heavier weight as a result.
New vocalist for this album Mathieu Dhani (Threat Level Midnight and Epiphany from the Abyss) dominates right from the outset in a guitar focused landscape. Anyone who has talked Death Metal with me will have heard me babble about Death Metal vocals as a rhythmic instrument with phrasing being of ultimate importance all else being equal. This can be the element that separates the very good from the great and Dhani excels, delivering phrasing patterns that move with and in syncopation to the music creating hook elements that advance well beyond the expert musicianship around him. Too often great song writing and musical arrangement in extreme genres are sold short by vocals that lack rhythmic creativity even if they sound like they are spewing forth from the depths of hell itself.
A track by track may not be the best approach with an album such as this where the spirit behind the music drives the enjoyment. Make no mistake that Killitorous are musically astute and run a brutal, technical, grinding and melodic gamut of Death Metal with something there for most in a wide audience of Death Metal lovers…it’s just that the glee with which it’s executed brings joy to a degree I’ve not felt from the genre in a long time. They are a self confessed party experience – give the audience what they want and give it to them with a savagery and technicality that makes them smile.
You like to party, don’t you?
Start to finish this one delivers but the standout moment comes with “Rodney Dangerfield of Dreams” – the sample and vocal call and reply is simply sensational and had Your Grouchy Friend grinning like a buffoon and high on life with absolutely every listen. It is a rollicking beast of a song and although melodic shreddology is not a personal preference it is delivered here with a sense of placement and taste that never outstrips the arrangements and is rare in those that play in the space.
The follow up chapter to “Insanity as a Pathway to Fame & Fortune” (on “Party, Grind” Gary Busey took the hit) is “The Tyranical Tirades of Mike Tyson”. This one sees Iron Mike pinned to the ropes taking a Killitoral hammering the likes of which the world may rarely see again. It unloads every technical trick it has, stepping well beyond Death Metal’s usual boundaries to create a functionally disparate yet holistically complete musical journey that needs to be experienced to be believed. I want this in a live setting to see the looks on all faces, both on stage and off.
“Eat Your God Alive” and “Married With Children” are both on the top end of “The Afterparty” hierarchy, and “30 Minutes” contains a stomping, squealing and dealing riff that is addictive, but again the album is a crowd pleaser from end to end.
If you are like me the happiest days of your life are being bombarded with brutality directly into your ear canal and the petty excuse for a brain beyond. “The Afterparty” is exactly that happiness. If you know that happiness, “The Afterparty” is for you.
If you subscribe to the school of ‘thought’ that shackles the unbelievers, forcing them to read from the ancient scriptures of the before times mandating bearded seriousness of all that is black and true (lest we show the ‘normies’ cracks in our ferocious Metalhood) – Killitorous may not be for you. In my mind that subsection of Metal fandom is all but non-existent (please Mummy don’t tell me that’s not true) so the blanket advice is get out and get yourself all the Killitorous you can handle.
This album is mighty, it’s funny and it yields a big smile from Your Grouchy Friend.
Honestly if this one doesn’t spark joy, you may need to see a psychologist…
…or a psychiatrist.
“The Afterparty” is released on the 22nd of May.
Rating – 5/5