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Kill Junior

A review of Kill Junior's new album, "Distract-O-Matic"

Kill Junior CD: Distract-O-Matic
Record Label: Self-released
by Mike Huberty
May 2012

Thrash metal is woodpecker drums with a snare war hammer to the spinal column, guitar solos played faster-than-light speed, and a vocal performance that smashes catharsis and melody. In other words, it’s awesome. It’s about a bunch of sweaty dudes as playing as hard as physically possible. Most area metal has some great guitar riffs, but lately has been closer to death and hardcore, with gutteral utterances in favor of singing and either played so fast that it’s incoherent or so slow that it’s only appreciated stoned. While the live metal scene has been thriving, there hasn’t been a Wisconsin metal recording in a long time as good as KILL JUNIOR’s new release, “Distract-O-Matic”.

There’s no band in the Dairy State that’s making classic thrash metal like KILL JUNIOR.  “Distract-O-Matic” is a virtual ball slap, like being knocked in the bag by another, larger pierced bag. A big fat Hafada pierced scrot bump full of metal power. Imagine walking into a Megadeth concert with Glenn Danzig on vocals and then just when you’re getting all turgid about how fucking awesome that is, an anvil of heaviness drops on your head like you’re Wile E. Coyote and while you’re dazed, the Road Runner sprints up to you, meep meeps in your face, takes a quick piss on your pleather boots, does an Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom Mola Ram heart grab on you, makes sweet love to that heart, puts it back under your rib cage, and sews you up like Civil War battlefield surgery. That’s something like the experience of hearing “Distract-O-Matic” for the first time.

The opening track, “Death Camp”, starts off with an instant march into Hell and changes rhythms and tempo quickly. The guitar solos and riffs are straight out of “Kill ‘Em All”, but Brian Martinez’s drumming would embarrass Lars and the boys back into their “Some Kind of Monster” psychotherapy. I’ve heard a lot of Cory Kastner’s vocals over the years with his different bands, but it feels like he’s finally really come onto his own as a powerful vocalist. Melodic and strong like bull, he’s got Mike Patton’s goofy moments mashed up with Zack de la Rocha’s intensity. They’ve found the absolute right sound for his voice with this record.

The dual guitars of Joe Kuckuk and Paul Lueloff are perfectly synchronized into a Doomsday Clock on “The Untitled” with riffs that are heavier than iridium. If guitar excellence is something you appreciate, than grab an extra set of jeans and call your local laundromat, because there’s a soiling in your immediate future. “The Drunkening” starts nice with a little acoustic guitar, but prepare for a “Battery”-like beatdown, because it transitions flawlessly into a double kick monstrosity. And there’s a couple of Maidenesque lead breaks that feature some fistingly great guitar harmonies that would make Adrian Smith and Dave Murray’s fingers bleed green with jealousy. The final riff of this tune alone will make heads bang so hard that Madison chiropractors will be in business for years.

The final track in the album is the highlight, “John Coil: Movement 2”. And it’s appropriately named because coils are going to be what you drop when you have an obligatory but involuntary movement when it fingerblasts your ears. It’s the best Judas Priest song the boys from Birmingham never recorded. It would be remiss to forget about Paul Collins’ bass work on this track, because it’s so tight with Martinez’s stellar drum work. The bass riffage is nasty and it has to be to compete with the guitars played with such ferocity.

KILL JUNIOR plays heavy metal like they’re going to fucking die at the end of the song. This is the end of the line. It’s rock for the apocalypse. AVENGED SEVENFOLD or DRAGONFORCE without all the self-awareness and irony. They’ve got plenty of humor, but without the self-parody that has infected the genre. Producer Dan-O Stoffels and mastering engineer Trevor Sadler have helped create a thrash metal masterwork with “Distract-O-Matic”. Raise your rock fist for the real deal, KILL JUNIOR’s latest album is a badass testament to the melodic power of a bunch of sweaty dudes playing their instruments like their lives depend on it. Fucking beautiful.


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