Kill Everything – Scorched Earth

Rating: 1.5/5
Distributor/label: Comatose Music
Released: 2018
Buy Album: https://comatosemusic.bandcamp.com/album/scorched-earth
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/killeverythingtx

BAND LINE-UP:

Brian Wynn – Guitar,
Mike Majewski – Vocals,
Shane Newbrough – Drums & Samples
Weston Wylie – Guitar & Vocals,
Jeff Huffman – Bass.

TRACKLISTING:

1. Kill Everything
2. Scorched Earth
3. Intrinsic Vexation
4. Bereft Of Humanity
5. Thermal Liquidation
6. It’s A Wonderful Knife
7. Laid To Waste
8. Carnivorous Lunar Activities

REVIEW

What is heaviness in music to you? We all love heavy metal, but what is it exactly that makes heavy metal heavy? For such a wide-spread genre, there can be a whole host of different factors that contribute, with the most obvious one being pitch. There’s the notion that the lower the guitars are tuned, the heavier the music is – see YouTube music man Rob Scallon’s video on it for a perfect encapsulation of it. So what’s all that got to do with KILL EVERYTHING?

As with all albums received for discerning critique, there is a little bio that’s provided to enrich one’s knowledge regarding the band, the album, etc. (a particularly useful resource if in unfamiliar territory). Worryingly, the one provided for the rosy ray of sunshine that is “Scorched Earth” by Texan kitten-cuddling sweeties KILL EVERYTHING states that the band utilises 8-string guitars in their tender ditties of love. Why would that be a worry, you may ask? Simply, the 8-string (or 7-string, previously) has become somewhat synonymous with low-strung chugs containing very little substance, so their use can often be met with a degree of scepticism. Are they being used to the fullest extent, with the extended range bringing out a whole range of tonal possibilities to explore, or are they being used as a crutch for supposed “heaviness”?

To the band’s credit, the alarm bells that begin ringing upon reading of their use of the extended range guitars are silenced once the opening buzz of “Kill Everything” rumbles into life. The production is beefy and provides a suitable heft from which to utterly eviscerate you through music (apparently, the band’s goal). From there on in, “Scorched Earth” is a thunderous slab of low F# riffs that barely venture towards the dusty end of the neck – it’s the equivalent of a paving slab upside the head until only fleshy pulp remains…

But thereafter those alarm bells start to become audible again when the realisation hits that the use of the eighth string is not for some form of extended range virtuosity, but for low chugs. And “Scorched Earth” chugs lower and harder than your mum at a limbo/drinking contest. Individually, the likes of “Intrinsic Vexation” and “It’s A Wonderful Knife” are perfectly meaty slabs of death metal, but an album-full leaves one a little weary. There are riffs, make no mistake, that perk the ears up – the squeaks and pinch harmonics of “Scorched Earth” and “Carnivorous Lunar Activities” carry a certain “get up and punch stuff” quality, but they’re lost amongst the bowel-churning chug-fest that is the rest of the album. There’s no respite and no variation – everything boils down to a mid-tempo bludgeoning, only given a little life by the excellent double-time drumming.

Lyrically-speaking, the affair is a little one-dimensional. To be fair, what would you expect from a band known as KILL EVERYTHING? An album singing of cute puppies, rainbows and a shining utopia where everyone gets along whilst hosting dinner parties? Nah, try cold, hard misanthropy and death. Granted, it’s a metal staple, but when you’ve blunt, almost crass lyrics like: “I am white with rage-filled hate/Every day brings seething pain/Apathy for the human race”, you’re left wondering what else the waiter can serve.

As it stands, “Scorched Earth” is one of those giant 32oz steaks which requires a certain tenacity to devour. Chefs KILL EVERYTHING have certainly cooked up some tasty rare morsels in there, but it is largely a chewy, well-done affair. It’s an album that has a clear identity without making any compromises en route, which should be praised, but in doing so, it becomes a little stale after a lengthy listen. “Scorched Earth” is an exceptionally heavy beast and will give the bowels some serious thinking to do, but it poses the question: can an album be too heavy? Does tuning so low have an inverse effect?

Not that it will bother KILL EVERYTHING. If they had their way, neither we nor they would be around to hear the album. Cheery.

REVIEW BY LEE CARTER
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