Unsigned Rock Band Displays Great Potential In Its New LP

Courtesy:  Killset/Yvonne Laughlin

Courtesy: Killset/Yvonne Laughlin

Up and coming hard rock outfit Killset’s new full-length studio recording Know Your Killer is one of the more intriguing records to be released so far this year. The eleven-track record is such an intriguing effort in that coming from an unsigned and obviously relatively unknown act, it presents the band as a group that has great potential being right at the start of its life. This is obvious right from the album’s opening track ‘My Whole Life.’ The brooding rocker presents interesting influences from the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Deftones, and others of their ilk both musically and lyrically. ‘Forget You’ is another of the album’s more notable moments. That is thanks to its mix of metal and industrial influences in regards to its musical content. Examining its lyrical content, its no nonsense message is one that is certain to connect with audiences. The combination of both elements make this song one that could easily hold its own against any of its more well-known hard rock brethren given the chance at any of America’s mainstream rock radio stations. ‘A Better Way,’ the disc’s penultimate composition is one more of the album’s most noteworthy moments. That is because it shows a side of the band. That will be discussed later. Getting back on topic, all three of the songs noted here are in their own manner prime examples of the potential exhibited by Killset in its new album. That is not to discount any of the album’s other songs. The trio noted here are just the works that this critic felt best represent the band in its new album. All eleven songs together come together to make Know Your Killer a record that any lover of hard rock should hear at least once.

Know Your Killer is a good first effort from Killset. That is because throughout the course of its eleven tracks and forty-eight minute run time the band shows great potential for the future. This is obvious right from the album’s opener ‘My Whole Life.’ In regards to its musical content the song bears a striking resemblance to the Deftones’ hit single ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’ in the song’s verses. That is thanks in large part to the work of guitarist Dave Comer. The song’s chorus boasts more of a similarity to songs crafted by Breaking Benjamin. The combination of both influences makes the song quite the interesting listen. Front man Luca’s vocal delivery style adds to that comparison to Breaking Benjamin especially through the song’s chorus in which his subject sings about his life essentially being broken and torn apart. His subject speaks to an unnamed figure to “tae my whole life” and that “there’s nothing left inside.” It obviously is hardly the happiest song. But who hasn’t been at that low point in life in which one feels so hopeless? Even this critic has felt that at times. it is part of the human condition. The band is to be commended on being able to translate that mix of emotions that run through a person in such a mental state. That ability to translate such emotions both lyrically and musically shows exactly why this song is one of the album’s key moments in presenting the band’s potential. It is just one example of the band’s potential, too. The much harder rocking ‘Forget You’ is another example of just how much potential the band presents in its new album.

‘My Whole Life’ is a good introduction to Killset and an equally good example of the potential displayed by the band throughout the course of Know Your Killer. It is just one example of what makes this unsigned band’s new album worth at least one listen by lovers of hard rock. On another level ‘Forget You,’ which comes later in the album’s sequencing, is just as good of an example of the band’s potential. It is such a good example of the band’s potential primarily through the attention paid to the manner in which the song builds both musically and lyrically from its opening verse up to its chorus. The song starts soft and somewhat brooding both in regards to its musical and lyrical content and proceeds to build to its point of climax in its chorus in which Luca sings (yes, sings), “It’s over now/Even after everything that we’ve been through/You say/It’s over now even after everything that we’ve been through/It’s over/For the longest/Time we’ve known it’s/Over now even after everything that we’ve been through.” Considering the vitriol expressed in just the chorus one might expect lots of screaming. But Luca doesn’t take that route. Instead he limits the screaming to only two words, “It’s Over.” And even then he only goes that course one time. He doesn’t do it every time. It is a nice change of pace considering how easy it would have been for him to take that easy road. the level of fire and emotion that is exhibited by the time the song reaches its chorus is maintained and even built more as the song progresses through its second verse, bridge and final chorus refrain. By the song’s end, Luca and his band mates–Dave Comer (guitars), Mark Baker (bass), and James “Jas” Dillon (drums)–leave listeners breathless with the pure emotion put on exhibit throughout the song. Considering that the song is clearly about a broken relationship–this is proven in the song’s bridge as Luca’s subject sings, “I gave you everything/Did you even love me/Forget you/Was anything even ever true/Forget you/You’ve taken everything/You took it all and didn’t even love me/Forget you/It wasn’t true/Forget you/We’re through”–that slow boil approach taken by the band here both musically and lyrically shows clearly why ‘Forget You’ is such a strong example of the band’s potential. For that matter it is a clear example of the band’s readiness for the radio already. Even as impressive as this song proves in comparison to Know Your Killer’s other songs, it is still not the last example of the band’s potential presented in the album’s body. ‘A Better Way,’ the album’s penultimate composition, is one more example of the potential exhibited by Killset in its new album.

‘My Whole Life’ and ‘Forget You’ are both good examples in their own right of the potential exhibited by Killset in its latest full-length studio recording Know Your Killer. What makes it such a standout song is its stark stylistic difference from the rest of its counterparts that make up the body of this record. Whereas the album’s other ten songs feature their own share of fire and energy in regards to both their musical and lyrical content, this song takes another route, exhibiting a much mor ereserved, brooding sound and vibe. If ever there was a song on this album that exhibited the influence of the likes of Breaking Bennjamin and other similar acts, this song would be that one composition. Drummer James Dillon and guitarist Dave Comer serve as the foundation for the song that lyrically seems to center on a conversation between a father and his son. The father, it would seem, is feeling a certain amount of regret possibly for having not been there and being the father that he should have been. That could be entirely wrong. but Luca notes in the song that the song’s subject that this was someone older talking to his son, even using the word “son.” That is inferred even more as Luca sings in the song’s opening verse what coudl only be the son talking to his father saying to him, “I know you felt ashamed/Of all that you’ve been through/You tried to hide your face/On that night/Saw you/I know you were embarassed/So deep in your disease/I know you were not perfect/But you were there for me.” As brooding as the song’s musical content sounds, it becomes emotional in a wholy different manner in hearing these words being sung. It’s like the son is saying to his father, “I know you’re only human and that’s okay. You were still there for me despite everything. Thank you.” Considering the song’s chorus in which Luca sings of the supposed father figure singing about drinking, it can be assumed that the disease to which the son refers might be alcoholism. And the father knows it has killed him emotionally, mentally, and physicall, which is why he seems to have such regret. That mix of emotions would account for the depth of the song’s musical content in whole. And both elements together make this song one that is just as solid as any of the album’s other tracks (both those noted and not directly noted). It is one more example of the band’s potential given the right support from the nation’s mainstream rock radio outlets. All eleven tracks together prove Know Your Killer to be, once more, a record that every hard rock fan should hear at least once. In hearing it even just once, those listeners, too will agree that Killset does in fact have potential that deserves to be given at least one chance.

Know Your Killer is a good first record from the men of Killset. It is an album that presents Killset to be a band with great potential; potential that makes the band worth at least one chance by the country’s mainstream rock radio stations. That is exhibited most clearly through the album’s opener ‘My Whole Life,’ the much heavier yet equally emotionally powerful ‘Forget You’ and the deeply moving ‘A Better Way.’ All three songs prove this argument in their own right. They are only three examples of that potential, however. Know Your Killer boasts nine other tracks that listeners may argue are examples in their view, too. That being the case and regardless of which track(s) listeners connect to most, it can be said of Know Your Killer that it is an album in whole that exhbits great potential for Killset; potential that could make it one of the next big names in rock’s mainstream realm. Know Your Killer is available now and can be heard online now via the band’s ReverbNation website at http://www.reverbnation.com/killset. More information on Know Your Killer is available online now via its ReverbNation page and its official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/killsetofficial.

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Adage Could Be North Carolina’s Next Big Name In Music

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Austin, Texas.  Seattle, Washington.  Los Angeles, California. Atlanta, Georgia.  New York, New York.  Most people reading this right now are likely scratching their heads where this is going.  The answer is simple.  The cities noted here are some of America’s biggest hotbeds in the music industry.  They aren’t the industry’s only major hotbeds, though. Most people might not know it, but North Carolina as a whole state is a music hotbed within itself.  As a matter of fact, North Carolina could be argued to be one of the biggest musical hotbeds in America.  That’s because of the variety of major name acts that have called North Carolina home throughout the ages.  Jazz pioneers such as Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Max Roach all called North Carolina home as did fellow jazz great Billy Taylor. Taylor hailed from Greenville, North Carolina while Monk and Coletrane came from Rocky Mount and High Point respectively.  The Fabulous Corsairs, which featured famed singer-songwriter James Taylor called Chapel Hill home.  In terms of the world of rock, the world renowned Corrosion of Conformity is still performing and recording today.  As a matter of fact, COC released its latest album earlier this year.  The band calls The Old North State’s capital city Raleigh home.  Delta Rae, which is one of the biggest of North Carolina’s biggest acts today calls Durham home as does indie band Bombadil.  Of course one can’t forget the likes of The Avett Brothers, Parmalee, Between The Buried and Me, or Trioscapes among so many others.  Now another young up and coming band has added its name to that list of bands and artists that have made North Carolina the rich musical hotbed that it is for so many decades thanks to its new EP Defined.  The band’s debut for Pavement Entertainment presents great potential for the Winston-Salem based band even with only a total of five songs.  The songs included on this record exhibit influence from bands such as Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and to a lesser extent Trapt.  What’s more any of the songs included on this disc could easily be used as a single to promote the band.  That is obvious right off the top in the EP’s opening number ‘Anymore.’  It is just as obvious on the EP’s third and final songs, ‘Hold On’ and ‘By Myself’ respectively.’  ‘Best Of’ and ‘Growing Colder’ are also excellent examples of what audiences can expect from Adage’s new EP.  Collectively, the songs included on this record show Adage as a band that is on the brink of adding its name to the list of North Carolina’s biggest bands and artists.

The members of Adage show why the band is close to becoming another of North Carolina’s most well-known and talked about acts right from the outset of its new EP in the song ‘Anymore’  The song’s agro-rock stlye sound hints at influences both from the likes of Trapt and even Taproot to a slightly lesser extent.  Drummer Alex Hough’s timekeeping in this piece is exception especially considering the polyrhythmic patterns that he handles while keeping time for the band.  And the 1-2 punch of guitarist Luke and vocalist Justin Doyle heightens the song’s energy and emotion as well.  There is a certain furiousness in Doyle’s voice as he sings over the equally driving guitar line, “Everytime you look in my eyes you lie/And tell me everything’s alright/I know you don’t feel it anymore…I hate you/For all you’ve done to me/Some things you never see/And I don’t care.”  Songs about breakups are nothing new to the music industry.  They go back as far as the industry’s own beginnings it would seem.  But those songs that take the high road instead of the depression oh-woe-is-me angle are rather few and far between.  So when angrier, more aggressive pieces such as this one come along, they are a welcome change of pace.  That more aggressive lyrical and musical style that collectively make up this song makes it an instant radio ready song and a good representation of the band’s work on Defined.

As with ‘Anymore,’ ‘Hold On’ is also centered in the standard lyrical theme of relationships.  It also boasts the same agro-rock style that made so many bands in the late 90s and early 2000s fan favorites.  This song absolutely cries “LIVE” because of that sound.  Doyle sings Sorry that I’m not perfect/One day I will be worth it/To you/So hold on/I can’t ever find the right words/For saying nothing is so much worse to you/Hold on/All of this will come together/And I promise you/I promise you/Say goodbye for you.”  This song comes across as the polar opposite to the EP’s opener in that it seems more like his subject here is pleading for a woman to stay around versus the self-assured figure in ‘Anymore.’  He is trying his hardest to convince her to stay.  The musical comparison to the band’s bigger named counterparts only serves to make the song even more entertaining for audiences.  It goes to show the caliber of material the band is presenting here.  And that caliber is high, needless to say.  Together with ‘Anymore’ it makes for even more reason for fans to check out this EP when it drops August 19th.

Both ‘Anymore’ and ‘Hold On’ are good examples of what makes Defined an impressive new release from Adage.  Of the EP’s five songs, though there is still one more example of what makes this release the work that could potentially make Adage North Carolina’s next big name.  That song is the EP’s closer ‘By Myself.’  This song is a good way for the band to have closed out Defined.  It was such a good choice for a closer in that it shows the band’s softer side.  It’s a more melodic piece.  And among the EP’s five songs, it is perhaps the strongest candidate of all for the song that really breaks out the band.  Doyle sings in this song, “I’m crying out/Out for help/I just can’t be by myself/Remember how/How I felt/I just can’t see/By myself/I hear it from all sides/On how I should love you/I can’t make up my mind/On anything I do/Why am I here/Why won’t you just take me home/Why am I here/Why won’t you just leave me alone.”  The guitar breaks that follow the chorus are right up there with the likes of Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge) and other top named guitarists.  That along with the power in Doyle’s vocals make this song just as fitting a closer as ‘Anymore’ is the opener for the record.  Such a powerful final statement along with the EP’s other noted songs (and the pair not mentioned) seals the deal for Adage and for Defined.  It is the final piece of musical evidence proving why Adage is on the verge of becoming North Carolina’s next big name.

Defined will be available in stores and online Tuesday, August 19th via Pavement Entertainment.  Audiences can check out the songs from Defined online now via Adage’s ReverbNation website at http://www.reverbnation.com/adageband while they wait for the EP to drop.  They can also keep up with the band’s latest tour dates through that website and the band’s official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/adageband1.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.