KILLER BE KILLED has aligned with Nuclear Blast Entertainment to release the group’s debut record in 2014. The mystique-fogged collection is the result of writing sessions, creative and philosophical conversations and an eventual studio lockdown in Los Angeles. All of this has been heretofore hidden from the public, save for interview tidbits that relentlessly drove the heavy music community’s anticipation to a fever pitch.
Killer Be Killed is comprised of guitarists Max Cavalera and Greg Puciato, bassist Troy Sanders - all of whom share vocal duties - together with drummer David Elitch. The album was produced/mixed by Josh Wilbur (LAMB OF GOD, GOJIRA, STEVE EARLE).
“It’s a bit of SABBATH-y doom, a bit of thrash, a bit of hardcore and punk,” Puciato explains, searching for the right words to describe something defiantly unique.
“This is a very special project. It’s a one of a kind thing, with a lot of potential,” asserts Cavalera. “The album is a mix of heavy, fast and melodic songs.”
Featuring lead vocal contributions and lyrics from Puciato, Cavalera and Sanders, the aggressive assemblage of songs run the gamut from crowd-inciting brutality and jagged basement show style carnage to melodic, off-kilter hooks. Sanders jokingly described the band as “a perfect blend of a legend, a freak, a beast and a wookie.”
It’s all delivered through a prism of metal history conjuring the raw aggression of SEPULTURA’s earliest rumblings, together with the progressively esoteric shamanistic approach of MASTODON and just a hint of the dissonance of THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. It’s a set of songs with more traditional structure than most of them are known to perform, with a drum performance from a master of precision, power and groove.
“I love the idea of Greg, Troy and I singing together, with David Elitch’s amazing drumming,” says Cavalera. “Being a part of this is something quite different for me.”
“There would be no point in doing this if it sounded the same as our other bands,” notes Puciato. “Of any of our bands, it sounds the furthest away from mine, mainly because Dillinger is [guitarist/founder] Ben [Weinman]’s expression, musically.”
Puciato also expresses himself through the dark electro-pop of THE BLACK QUEEN, together with NINE INCH NAILS touring guitarist Josh Eustis of TELEFON TEL AVIV and Maynard James Keenan’s PUSCIFER. Puciato made a guest appearance in 2012 with MIXHELL, the DJ project of Max’s brother, Sepultura co-founder Iggor Cavalera.
Cavalera is no stranger to collaborations, of course, having invited multiple guests onto Sepultura’s genre-defining Roots and SOULFLY’s gold-selling debut album in 1998. One such Soulfly guest, Chino Moreno, has often joined Puciato onstage with both Dillinger and DEFTONES. Max was one-half of the incendiary NAILBOMB, together with English record producer and FUDGE TUNNEL mastermind Alex Newport. The pair released one studio album in 1993 and performed a blistering set at the Dynamo Festival in 1995.
“We did the song on Soulfy's Omen and then we started talking about doing an entire album together, the way he had with Alex Newport,” Puciato explains. “We eventually got together with some riffs we both had and wrote a bunch more material in a 72-hour blast out in the desert. We left with about 15 demos we made using the same drum machine and four track Max used working on Chaos A.D.”
Cognizant of the reputation both of them have cultivated after working with some of the world’s best drummers, Puciato called upon David Elitch, who had toured internationally with the mind-bendingly psychedelic group THE MARS VOLTA. His expertise in everything from jazz to metal has led to live and studio collaborations with a diverse range of major artists including Justin Timberlake, French electronic wizards M83 and Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør.
Killer Be Killed has come together even as their main projects hit a collective stride: Max just released his ninth studio album with Soulfly, Savages, to many of the strongest reviews of his legendary career. The Dillinger Escape Plan’s One Of Us Is The Killer debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Album chart earlier this year. Mastodon's most recent album, The Hunter, was Album Of The Year in various publications in 2011.
Mastodon and The Dillinger Escape Plan have toured together many times. During one such tour in the US, in late 2011, Puciato was telling Sanders about the new project. Before too long, Sanders and Cavalera were meeting at a festival in South America for the first time: “Hey, I’m Troy. And I think we’re in a band together.”
The electric chemistry was apparent the first time they all assembled. “Having met, created and recorded an album together, this experience has easily exceeded my initial expectations,” says Sanders. “The collective energy and mutual respect for one another eased the entire process and has been very therapeutic for me.”
Killer Be Killed is the latest signing for Nuclear Blast Entertainment, the joint venture between Nuclear Blast Records founder Markus Staiger and massively influential ex-Roadrunner Records Senior VP of A&R Monte Conner, who has worked with Max Cavalera on 18 records, starting with 1989’s Beneath The Remains.
The debut album from Killer Be Killed is set for release in 2014. Stay tuned for updates.
(Photo: Glen La Ferman)