Killer Be Killed is a collaborative project by Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy) and Dave Elitch (The Mars Volta). Though all of their associated bands can be loosely classed as ‘metal’, there aren’t any striking similarities in terms of musical style, so predicting how this album would turn out was an impossible task. Any preconceptions about the album are likely to have been shattered, with the resulting album sounding nothing like any of the aforementioned bands and combining all of their talents to create something new.
Musically the album is probably best described as ‘punk-metal’ in terms of the simplicity of the parts, favouring heavy riffage over intricate licks. Though the songs are mostly short and relatively similar in terms of structure, there’s enough variety and enough melody for it to not sound too repetitive or dull.
The key to this album’s brilliance is the diversity of the vocal approaches. Puciato, Sanders and Cavalera all have incredibly distinctive voices and all are at the top of their game, best showcased on album opener (and probably all around standout track) “Wings of Feather and Wax”. Sanders’ style fits the rock influenced verses, Cavalera’s screams add weight to the breakdown and Puciato’s soaring, cleanly sung chorus is melodic metal at it’s best. Puciato’s clean singing on the album in general is worthy of special note, it’s not something he’s best known for but he pulls it off spectacularly.
One of the few criticisms lies in the tracklisting; closer ‘Forbidden Fire’ is the only down-tempo song and would have perhaps fit better somewhere in the middle to break up the album, with ‘IED’ perhaps being a more fitting end. That small critique aside, this is a solid album which sounds far greater than the sum of its parts.