This album with the piece of shit cover (Look at it, just fucking look at it!!! Pink voodoo dolls are NOT metal!) is the second album by Killers, a project formed by the metal world equivalent of Paul Gascoigne, Paul Di'Anno. Both Paul's showed flashes of brilliance in their careers but are perhaps nowadays more well known for drink, drugs and spousal abuse. There is a rant about it in the first Killers blog which you can read by clicking here - and possibly scrolling either up or down once the tags take hold - so I'm not gonna go over that again. Instead, we're going to talk about the music as that's what we're here for. We can talk about the other stuff another time.
As mentioned, this is the second Killers album and marks a shift in style, The first one was a fun, if somewhat dated, romp where they seemed to have taken a leaf out of Judas Priest's book of metal. This album, however, is straight out of the "Groove Metal For Dummies" book. Particularly the chapter marked "Pantera". Now that may seem like a lazy comparison given that there was more to groove-metal than Pantera but the vocals on here indicate that Di'Anno really was trying to sound like Phil Anselmo. There are way too many 'Anselmo tics' on here for it to be mere coincidence. This album reeks of a conscious attempt to make what was (then) perceived to be a so-called modern metal record. Whilst it is commendable to move with the times, there is also the risk of looking like an embarrassing old fart who is trying to be 'down with the kids', something that was picked up by the journalists at the time. But anyhow, before I go off on a tangent, I'd best review this album.
Advance And Be Recognised - Why the fuck would anyone want to do that??? Dodgy title aside, this is a canny opener. Showcasing a big production that stays the right side of 'excessive', it manages to set the tone for some metal coming your way.
Die By The Gun - Starts off with a riff which is fantastic IMO but then it goes downhill. The verse structure sounds out of time and quite erratic. It's not a comfortable fit at all. The choruses are the fantastic riff from the intro but the change to that from the verse and back sounds very jarring. The slide into a fast midsection and solo sounds natural but the fact is, this would have been a great song if they'd just got a decent verse structure. Lyrics go on about how the printed media is a lie, Standard stuff, really. Did I mention this song has a fantastic riff?
Menace To Society - This is apparently what the judge equated Di'Anno to before deporting him from the USA (I found out why too - turns out when the police came out to arrest him for domestic violence, they found some charlie and an uzi and so added drugs and firearms offences to the charge list). Luckily, the song has a much better flow than the previous one but its drawbacks are the aforementioned Pantera tics which have now spread to the lyrics as one of the passages sounds like parts of "A New Level". Also, lyrics like "Fuck you, I do what I wanna do" don't help neither. This was 1994 which means that Paul should've known better by then. Unless he had his kid write them...Other than that, the music is great.
? (Seriously, that's what the song is called) is a slow number with distorted vocals and a hypnotic riff. It's possibly the most original thing on here thus far. Apart from the vocals.
Think Brutal - More Pantera tics. Guys, you're gonna be owing Phil Anselmo and the Darrell Estate plenty royalties at this rate...Fast verses give way to groove choruses. It's like "A New Level" has never been written. Another common theme I'm picking up on is that each song seems to be at least 90 seconds too long. No need for extended choruses towards the end.
Past Due - Thank fuck, we've got something that more resembles the type of metal Paul is famous for, normal heavy metal. Sure, it may be striding into power-ballad territory, especially with the clean arpeggioed (guitar lingo for playing a chord one string at a time or something) intro and verses which give way to a heavy choruses where the vocals soar like an eagle. A hint of "Remember Tomorrow" about it it's all good. Even though this is the most natural sounding song on the album, it's not my fave.
Faith Healer - Music is great, more in a traditional metal vein but the vocals are fucking awful on this. They're like a poor man's Bon Scott (And I don't mean Zetro from Exodus). If he'd not acted an idiot and just sang to his normal style, then maybe it would have been better.
We interrupt this Spotify ad break to show that band photos against brick walls are very metal.
Chemical Imbalance - YES! This is more like it. Paul has reverted back to his normal vocal style, and it is a vast improvement. The music still crushes and grooves but the vocals are far better. This is possibly the best song on the album. It's certainly the one I listen to the most as it's in my playlist for the gym. Particularly the punchbag. There are also touches of normal metal in amongst the groove and it makes you wonder why they didn't just try and combine both old and new school metal instead of ripping off Pantera full stop? I think we all know why. Kerching £££$$$.
A Song For You - Back to the Bon Zetro impresson over what sounds like quite average traditional metal. Not really feeling this one despite the 'gang vocal back-ups'. Oh well...
Three Words - Fuck Right Off? Ha, I kid! It's another one of those slow numbers which follows a similar structure to 'Past Due', arpeggioed clean verses and heavy choruses. So he's ripping himself off as opposed to Pantera! It's not as good as the previous song neither, even though it sounds like Paul and the rest of the band are trying their best.
Conscience - More traditional metal which is alright, but ultimately not likely to change anything.
City Of Fools - Taking their cue from Guns 'n' Roses song "My World" in the what-the-fucking-hell-was-that album closer, it features Di'Anno trying to 'rap' over some really basic music. It sounds like a Body Count song but that band were tongue in cheek. This seems deathly serious and that's worrying. And that "Hey, homes" shout at the beginning can fuck off as well.
So all in all, this is a mixed fucking bag of an album. On one hand it would make a good EP but on the other, some of it's content is far too much like a Pantera clone to take seriously. Yes, they were a big band in the 90's who no doubt influenced a lot of people but not all of them made this much of a conscious effort to sound like Pantera - not even Pissing Razors and they got called out on their Pantera-worship all the time! I guess it's also the last shred of decent output to feature Di'Anno before guest spots on Christmas Metal Albums and more Iron Maiden cash-ins. Maybe I'm too harsh, I dunno.
Personally, I think it's a canny album as I like this groove metal stuff but it's a wreck from a critical standpoint. Music is good, but not that good and the vocals are way off. Shame, as the first Killers album had a great vocal performance.
4/10 - Well it's alright, but still...
Top Track: Chemical Imbalance.
Yeah, this fucker is on iTunes.