Thursday, March 17, 2005

Killwhitneydead - So Pretty, So Plastic CD Review

After reading up on their bio, Killwhitneydead are an interesting band to say the least. They hail from Flagstaff, Arizona, which is not really a place you’d think would generate a grind/death metal band bent on purveying their hatred for mankind across the vast wastelands of this world. Ok, so the philosophy they live by isn’t anything new, and I know that just about every death metal and grind band out there talks about “hate”, “disgust”, and other such dark topics, but Killwhitneydead have the walk as well as the talk. So far they’ve managed to have their performances banned in just about every town in Arizona, had various run-in’s with the law, and a couple of members of the band have even served jail time. With the street cred to back them up, how does their latest cd stack up musically?

So Pretty, So Plastic manages to mix together a healthy amount of death metal growls, Slayer-esque thrashing, crunching breakdowns, and plenty of movie samples. To many that sounds like a wonderful combination, but this mixture doesn’t always work in their favor. Often times the overabundance of movie clips really takes away from the songs. They have a pretty capable vocalist, so why add all of the clips? Do they really like the movies or quotes that much? Even if they are madly in love with the sources they sample, it would be much more effective to work the themes or quotes themselves into the song’s vocals.

Now the vocals themselves range from Zao inspired growls to out and out pain filled screams. There is a distinct dissonance between the vocals and the sound clips, which gets very annoying very fast, and you will quickly start wishing for more vocals and less pre-recorded trash. One odd anomaly on this release is the song “Put Your Mouth Where the Money Is…” in which the vocals mysteriously take on a 80’s hair metal style. It’s hard to determine if they were doing this as a joke or if it was simply an experiment gone awry, but whichever way you look at it, the vocals on this song are terrible and they should have either changed them or left this song on the cutting room floor.

Musically, these guys can shred with the best of them. When the songs aren’t pummeling you with heavy breakdowns, you’ll be treated to astute guitar thrashing that will have you imagining some of the heavy metal glory days. The confidence that is exuded throughout the cd definitely works in the band’s favor as the songs feel intense, in your face, and a little bit dirty. There’s also a strong air of defiance in their style of breakdown laden death metal that many people may find attractive, but their musical attitude alone isn’t enough to compensate for the already mentioned downfalls.

With some restructuring in the vocal department, a removal of the sampling, and a little less jail time, Killwhitneydead could put together a brutal death metalcore record, but as it is right now So Pretty, So Plastic isn’t enough to put them into the upper echelon of the metal world. It would definitely be a treat to come back in a couple of years to find these guys ripping it up with the best of them, but it’ll take some work on their part to do it.

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