|The bevy of sub-genres associated with heavy metal and hardcore punk have often given birth to one-off partnerships, guest appearances and duets, but rarely is there an entire band assembled with the primary purpose of getting in a room together to watch what happens when their respective creative muses danced, fucked or fought.
Fast friends Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy) and Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan) spent a marathon three-day session in the desert together, working up over a dozen demos with the same drum machine and four-track recorder Max had used to work on Sepultura's Chaos A.D., among others. After recruiting drummer Dave Elitch (ex-The Mars Volta) and bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Killer Be Killed became a real band in a small rehearsal room.
Following a batch of practices in Orange County in early 2013, the four guys reassembled at The Fortress in the fall under the watchful eye of producer Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God, Gojira, ]Steve Earle) and collaborated on their debut album, with Cavalera, Sanders and Puciato bouncing lyrics and song titles off each other right there. The end result should inspire other heavy music makers to collaborate more often, in the community-minded spirit of jazz, hip-hop and other genres.
Featuring lead vocal contributions and lyrics from Puciato, Cavalera and Sanders, the aggressive assemblage of songs run the gamut from percussive crowd-inciting brutality, jagged basement show style carnage and melodic, off-kilter hooks.
It's delivered through a prism of metal history conjuring the raw aggression of early Sepultura rumblings like Morbid Visions and Schizophrenia with the increasingly progressive 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, underlined by a relentless drum performance from a master of precision, power and groove.
Max is no stranger to collaborations, of course, having invited multiple guests onto Sepultura's genre-defining Roots and continued the tradition with the release of Soulfly's gold-selling debut album in 1998. One such Soulfly guest, Chino Moreno, has often joined Puciato onstage with both The Dillinger Escape Plan 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.
Killer Be Killed began when Max and Greg ran into each other at a Los Angeles benefit show for Chi Cheng, the late Deftones bassist who spent years in a semi-conscious state following a 2008 car accident. Puciato and Cavalera were guest performers at one of the benefits put on to raise money for medical expenses.
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.