Kills and Thrills - Liars
Record Label: Hotfoot Records
Release Date: March 9, 2010
Kills and Thrills are like a punch to the face. Not a slap, and not a full on onslaught or mauling, but a punch. A musical "slap" would be Nickelback: Boring, bland, repetitive, and more annoying than anything else.
The onslaught would be a band like Dragon Force: Yes, the instrumentation will melt your face off, but the technicality would make the live show a buzz-kill since the instrumentalists would have to focus more on what they were playing than putting on a good live show. Though, I'm sure good pyrotechnics would do a good job at hiding it.
Kills and Thrills, as they show on their debut full-length from Hotfoot Records, find a good middle ground. They're excellent instrumentalists, but don't rely on technicality to show they can write a solid tune. But it's not toned down to the point of skipping through the whole record to find the one "good" song or the desire to eject the disc.
The disc starts off with "Dirty Birds," with vocalist Chris Vetter screaming through razor-laced pipes "Gather 'round! Gather 'round!" like a doomsday preacher about to administer his apocalyptic sermon. And given the names of the tracks that follow, it would be no surprise if it was an end-of-days themed record.
The energy, from not only Vetter, but the other instrumentalists in the band, makes listening to the record feel like being at a live show. There's no fancy bells or whistles, no programmed beats, special synthesized noises, blips or beeps. This record feels like the DIY, Long Island hardcore scene. In "Fight Riff," it makes the audience feel like they're right up front screaming the vocals back at the band from the front row. There are moments they actually sound like one of Long Island's most well-known acts, Brand New. "Keep Holding On," which sounds like a B-Side from "Daisy." The song, while probably the most "mellow" song on the record, if you could call it that, is the only time the record slows down for a moment.
The rest of the record plays out with the same animosity, and even closes with a bang as big as what was used to open the record. In "Rip it Up," Vetter demands of the listener "Just try and stop us now," almost as a challenge to the audience. It's doubtful that anyone, approached with the energy and ferocity that Vetter spews those words, would make any attempt to stop Kills and Thrills.
A slap will catch you off guard temporarily, and upon realizing you've been slapped, you'd probably be insulted and angered. An onslaught is overkill, and often times unnecessary, but is the result of letting one's passion take over their actions. A punch is simple, a strong statement. It's aggressive, simple, and oftentimes it's just what the situation needs. No extra bells or whistles, no special technique involved, and it gets the point across. Kills and Thrills is the punch to the face that hardcore needs.