I’m always a bit sceptical about ‘Super Groups’; they seldom live up to the hype or expectation placed on them, despite featuring a phalanx of talent. While the term ‘super group’ may be a stretch too far in describing KTL; a line-up featuring former Bullet For My Valentine drummer Michael ‘Moose’ Thomas, Still Remains six string shredder Jordan Whelan, Threat Signal’s Travis Montgomery and vocalist James Clark from Minneapolis Metallers Throw The Fight, is definitely an above average quartet of musicians. So… no pressure then gents.
Thankfully having a bank of 30-40 riffs written by Whelan to choose from, and with transatlantic rehearsals spanning a period of 18 months, KTL have recorded a blistering debut album which easily surpasses the expectations placed on it, and looks set to push the band rapidly into the Championship League of Metal bands. Opener ‘Shed My Skin’ blasts things apart with a combination of blistering riffs and jackhammer double bass drumming, with Clark setting out his stall from the get go – a juxtaposition of larynx scraping and melodic clean vocals.
If you’re looking for a quick and nasty comparison it’s musically not a million miles away from Lamb of God. Before you know it the song is over and it’s onto ‘The Faceless’ – a more traditional metal sounding track which reveals the bands influences (there’s obviously a bit of Priest, Maiden and Bay Area Thrash Metal interlaced with Clark’s more modern metal sounding vocals). ‘Watch You Fall’ is a bit more measured in pace, featured some lovely trade off solos between Whelan and Montgomery and dare I say it… a bit of Chester Bennington to the Clark’s vocal delivery of schadenfreude…
There’s a shift down gear for the emotional ‘Through The Night’ – a slow brooder which I can see becoming a live sing along favorite. It’s back to the bands Thrashier sound on ‘Open Your Eyes’ (sadly not a cover of the Warzone classic but hey…) and the soundtrack for 2020 – ‘Plagues’. There’s a complete change of style and pace on ‘Tear Me Apart’ which nods heavily to the <gulp> Metal Ballad…but…it works – and adhering to the adage that a good song is a good song whatever the style… I’m actually digging this one as one of my personal faves off ‘The Sinner’. It’s only a temporary respite though as the band blast back into LOG territory on ‘The Enemy’.
The remainder of the album alternates between the bands heavier and more melodic sounding tracks – a trademark of many late 90s/00s metal bands and a surefire way of connecting with that fanbase finishing with the rifftastic ‘Unmoved’ and the brutal ‘Chasing Shadows’ on which the band flirt with an almost hardcore intensity whilst retaining their melodic edge – which kinda encapsulates Kill The Lights in one song.
An exceptionally strong debut that I envisage the BFMV/Still Remains faithful digging immensely. It’s also nice to see that despite Thomas being the most well-known member of the band, he doesn’t let ego get in the way of the band itself. Choosing instead to provide a solid and technically impressive backbone to the songs and let his bandmates shine within their own right. The Moose is definitely loose in the hooose and it’s good to see him back where he belongs. Ian Pickens