The bigger the expanse of sounds and bands we all hear, the more we go looking for that something extra to get excited about. It might not be a big twist which sparks a fire in personal tastes, but something which certainly ignites the imagination and shows that there is still varying degrees of originality within modern music. American metallers Shitkill is a band which with new EP, The New Breed, has plenty of those little differences and definitely teases a burst of enthused attention to ears and thoughts. Hailing out of New York, the quartet cast a sound which draws on a diverse flavouring of sounds; they more often than not seemingly are tagged as groove metal but as the EP shows it is just one shade of many creative colours ripe in their music.
Formed in 2009, Shitkill has continually nurtured a potent reputation for their live presence and sound, not only locally but into broader attention. Their stage impact has been one reason, the band increasingly strengthening their stock as they played with bands like Twelve Foot Ninja, the Cro-Mags, Eyehategod, and D.R.I., but also through their releases. 2010 saw the Asylum EP released but it is fair to say that their self-titled album a year later made the first real mark. Its well-received success was followed by two live albums in 2012 and 2014 respectively, but The New Breed EP is where it is easy to imagine the band soon luring a more global attention.
The EPs title track is first to persuade ears, and does so with swift success thanks to the opening rhythmic dance cast by drummer Damien Moffitt. It is inescapable bait aided by the sonic glances playing around the beats and taken to new heights by the deliciously carnivorous tones of Karina Rykman’s bass. It is animalistic in voice, every flick of a string bringing a predatory edge which simply grips an already awoken appetite. Things only get more compelling as the opening grooves and riffs cast by guitarists Danny Chpatchev and Josh Musto add to the tantalising proposition. The track swings and leaps round with devilment in its heart and creativity, but also an ever increasing unpredictability and imagination. The vocals of Musto scowl and rage, a gravelly delivery somewhere in the ball park of Phil Anselmo. The song itself can be best described as a mix of System Of A Down, Bloodsimple and indeed Pantera, yet there is plenty more hinting and teasing within the provocation, and showing stronger glimpses as the release proceeds.
It is a potent and highly enticing start, but in some ways just the appetiser as things get more inventive and flavoursome. The next up Vultures instantly brings a new tempest of intrigue and aggressive flavouring, its hardcore essences a buffeting ire against metallic grooving and tangy melodic enterprise. From its initial stomp, the song slips into a compelling noise rock infused stomp, riffs and hooks shuffling with rhythms in a psychopathic yet fluid tango before returning to the stormy onslaught it began with.
Death Giver pushes the adventure of the EP to further riveting heights straight after, the track making a tenaciously imposing entrance with a torrent of riffs pierced by powerfully swung beats. Bass and subsequently vocals only add to the dark drama and intimidation though it is only the lead to greater irresistible temptation. A rugged proposal at first it suddenly throws off its severe manner and goes on an escapade of creative mania. There might be better ways to describe the sudden burst of ingenuity but with deranged grooves and hooks which feel bedlam bred, there is a delicious insanity to the track. The grooving reminds of The Cardiacs whilst around them the roars of vocals and rhythmic predation is as much punk as it is metal. The track is quite brilliant and those insidious grooves, a lingering serpentine infestation.
An even greater punk ferocity fuels Faceless, the song from its first breath a raging brawl unafraid to bring addictive hooks and spicy grooves into its hostile armoury. Though it cannot quite match the brilliance of its predecessor, the turbulent treat has pleasure full and hunger for more, greedier by the second. Punk metal at its best, the song makes way for the closing excellence of Underworld. It is another almost bestial in presence and tone, riffs and rhythms prowling the listener with persistent hostility whilst adding distractions like sudden agitated beats and vocal causticity. Those demonic grooves make their return again, nestling seductively into the different but no less enthralling landscape of the song. Embracing the metal side of the band’s sound with potent whispers of more classical breeding, the encounter has body and emotions engrossed and complicit in its dark deeds, especially through the closing stretch of heavy footed and superbly lumbering beats from Moffitt courted by the cavernous basslines of Rykman and the equally uncompromising enticements of the guitars.
It is a scintillating end to an impressive and thoroughly thrilling release. Probably like a great many, The New Breed is our introduction to Shitkill, another succumbing to their not majorly original sound but certainly a strikingly inventive and most of all fiercely enjoyable one.
The New Breed EP is available now digitally @ https://shitkill.bandcamp.com/
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