Debut albums rarely arrive as shapely and hard-kicking as this first release by London-based crew KilliT, but then the guys in this band are no neophytes: they’ve cut their teeth in bands like King Lizard and Ace Mafia, and have honed their chops playing live gigs for years. On ‘Shut It Down’ they take all that experience, drive, energy, talent, and skill, and deliver a bold as brass, confident release that rocks heavy and rocks hard, but also brings the melodies, the vocals (such vocals!), and lyrics to prove that there’s more going on under the hood here than just rock and roll brawn.
‘Shut It Down’ shines from start to finish with huge riffs and solos from lead guitarist Niro Knox: he was good when I first heard him on King Lizard’s album ‘A Nightmare Livin’ The Dream’ a few years ago (read that review), and he’s only gotten better since. As for vocals… well, Gaz Twist is a revelation on this album, able to deliver howling screams, as well as passion and emotional subtlety (often in the same song). With Byron Marr on rhythm guitar, and Geos Letona and Pete Jean on bass and drums respectively, this is a strong and self-assured band through and through.
There’s an edge of righteous anger and a definite “no-bullshit” attitude in a lot of the lyrics as well as the music on ‘Shut It Down’, starting off with the fast and powerful title-track – a riffy, hooky beast of a tune that even dares to slow down for an impressive vocal interlude.
Other early standouts include the speeding, free-flowing ‘Say My Name’ – the kind of track that grows on you with every listen – and the awesome ‘Calm Before The Storm’ with huge guitars and huge vocals.
Another one of my favourites is the scorching ‘Take The Power’ – I just LOVE the riff setting this tune off, and the band goes on to propel it into the rock’n’roll stratosphere with a swaggery rhythm and a fluid beat.
There’s more good stuff on the bruisingly powerful (and basically gdmn irresistible) ‘I Ain’t Playing Your Game’ – Gaz’ vocals are all strut and attitude here, with the menace of the guitars and drums digging into you from beneath. ‘Dragging Me Down’ with its sweet, rugged groove and blistering guitar-work; and the gritty, dirty, riffy ‘Don’t Look Back’ are other standouts for me.
The band delivers some excellent slower tunes as well, like the power-ballad ‘Our Last Goodbye’ with stunning vocals (again) from Twist; and the raw, piercing ‘Calling You For The Very Last Time’ – “I’m searching for you but I’m the one who’s lost” – with both vocals and guitars supplying full measures of pain and passion.
‘Crash And Burn’ closes out the album with some smashing energy, wrapping up a kick-ass debut album from KilliT.
‘Shut It Down’ is going straight into my pile of favourites-of-the-year-so-far. KilliT delivers music that has a depth and a complexity beyond the norm: the kind of depth and complexity that makes an album grow on you with every listen. The sound is top notch throughout, but maintains enough of a raw, loose, dirty feel to make the music feel alive rather than shellacked.
More, please, and soon.
- Shut It Down
- Say My Name
- Calm Before The Storm
- See The End
- Take The Power
- Our Last Goodbye
- I Ain’t Playing Your Game
- Calling You For The Very Last Time
- Dragging Me Down
- Draw The Line
- Don’t Look Back
- Crash And Burn
- Gaz Twist – Vocals
- Niro Knox – Lead Guitar
- Byron Marr – Rhythm Guitar
- Geos Letona – Bass
- Pete Jean – Drums