Killing Spree - _Terror from Beyond Space_
(Napalm Records, 1997)
by: Henry Akeley (8 out of 10)
This is an impressive debut CD of hard, biting, and well-produced cyber metal, dominated by punchy riffs, precision percussion, and lots of cool electronic loops and samples. Beginning in fine fashion with the no-nonsense, tribal-styled groove that propels opener "Cosmic Trigger", Killing Spree combine the regimented precision of industrial music with tough, organic riffs and hard, heavy bass lines in roaring arrangements. The drummer is not an electronic rhythm machine, but a human one, and the guitars sound thick and clear. The riffs are for the most part straightforward and chunky, hard-hitting, yet not particularly complex. Vocals are delivered in a gruff, mid-ranged voice that manages to be both expressive and aggressive. But what really sets this album apart from other purveyors of the "industrial metal" style is the band's wily use of electronics. One member does programming and sampling exclusively, and this guy's effort really pays off, giving the music a cutting, futuristic edge without becoming overbearing at all. All kinds of cool, looped effects and whacked frequencies whisper and crackle just underneath the guitars, adding lots of color and interest to the sound. (It really pays to listen closely.) Also, samples are used with more skill and restraint than they usually are by metal bands who sample. (See the chorus to the thundering "Believe".) A number of short tracks are completely electronic excursions into a warped, aggressive variant on techno music: for enjoyable examples, check out "1248 F.P.S." and "Drugs Anyone?". A couple of other songs suffer, I think, from riffs that are a little bit flat. But strong tracks like those already mentioned, plus the potent "Whore" and "Cross", display a talented band with big potential. Compelling stuff, and for those interested in the more futuristic strains of extreme metal, it's definitely worth seeking out.

(article published 9/4/1997)


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