Adding a sincerity to the term “supergroup”, Killed Be Killed released their self-titled debut in 2014 to critical acclaim. Returning six years later with ‘Reluctant Hero’, the well versed quartet deliver a bludgeoning set of tracks that refines their sound.
Getting straight to it with ‘Deconstructing Self-Destruction’, thundering riffs give way to Troy Sander‘s bellowed vocals. Sharing vocal duties, Greg Puciato injects a punk rock chorus into the primarily thrash based track. Diverting into a prog fuelled bridge and a spiky yet melodic guitar solo, the band prove that their self-titled was not a flash in the pan release.
Following up from anthemic lead single ‘Dream Gone Bad’, ‘Left Of Center’ takes the energy down slightly, allowing space to drift in and out of the triple pronged vocal assault of Sanders, Puciato, and Max Cavalera. Continuing to branch out, ‘Inner Calm From Outer Storms’, ambient textures and tense palm-muting create a moment of reprieve before Cavalera leads a galloping bridge that ramps up the record’s momentum.
Mid-point track and record highlight ‘From A Crowded Wound’ sees the quartet works with one another’s strengths to create a song that utilises a slow burn to its advantage. Leaning on Ben Koller‘s drumming to build it towards its explosive climax, thunderous riffs and dominating vocals showcase the impact of three of the most recognisable voices in modern metal.
After the dense riffs of ‘From A Crowded Wound’, ‘The Great Purge’ plays with doom motifs and intimate bridges to serve as a counterpart to its predecessor, before launching back into the groove laden thrash that serves the record well.
Closing with a trifecta of solid tracks, ‘Reluctant Hero’ ensures that there’s little wiggle room. Beginning its final run with the hardcore powered ‘Animus’, Koller‘s blast beats navigate growling vocals and flurried notes before abruptly cutting itself short.
Following on from the chunky ‘Dead Limbs’, the sober title-track closes ‘Reluctant Hero’ on a haunting and sparse note. Leaning on the collective strengths of the veteran performers, stadium ready choruses shine through the ambient and trepidatious verses to conclude the record.
Improving on their commendable debut, ‘Reluctant Hero’ is the sound of four established musicians enjoying one another’s chemistry to blistering results.