The supergroup thing is always a hit or miss topic. Especially when said supergroup comes out with a bold statement like their material is “completely different” than anything they’ve personally ever worked on before in their separate endeavors, and…. kind of isn’t? That, of course, is my cuntly opinion and lucky for you, my darling readers, this grumpy Jason isn’t the only voice in your head today as my fellow writer and enthusiast in the realm of excessive…well everything, Talia Plante, will help split this personality in two as we crack down upon Metalcore supergroup Kill The Lights and their first attempt at existence in The Sinner. Will you laugh? Will you cry? Will I give a fuck? Probably not on all fronts and that’s just how I like it.
Full disclosure, there are things this album does for me and things that leave me a little chaffed. In the spirit of keeping things short and dry so my COVID sex life doesn’t feel quite so alone, The Sinner is a marvelously mastered record. It checks off all the boxes in terms of how it’s delivered to our ears and into our primitive brains in terms of board work, tone, and overall sonic implications. Where my gripe stands is in its creative factors. Kill The Lights is the culmination of four major acts (spare me the necessity of detailing names and shit here) in Throw The Fight, Threat Signal, Still Remains, and most notably Bullet For My Valentine. To say that this subsequently sounds like a culmination of all these acts would be accurate, since they all deeply exist within the same realm of thought and sound. Metalcore with an 80’s aspiration. Heavy, riffy, but snazzy and glamorous with the right amount of the mythical “zazz”. If you walk into The Sinner hoping for new “insert band here” you’ve got it and you’re going to love it.
For me however “Shed My Skin” breaks open and I’m left with an As I Lay Dying taste in my mouth so distinct that I actually had to stop one of my listens and go get an earful of “Shaped By Fire” (shamefully of course, so the internet doesn’t try to publicly sodomize me). Moving along, the record brings thick Trivium vibes to the mix, only to then remind yourself once again that this is a Bullet For My Valentine supergroup that regretfully isn’t Axe Wound. It’s everything new wave of American heavy metal always was and still is right down to the copy/paste fucking song titles like “Sober” and “Tear Me Apart” or literally any other title on this record INCLUDING THE NAME OF THE MOTHER FUCKING RECORD.
It’s fun, it fills the void you may have from wanting to listen to new material from these bands, but it strikes the ultimate chord of “do it differently or do it better” that I’m in a perpetual state of preaching about. I’ve heard these songs before, they were just done with different tones and voices. Nothing here stands out or drives me to a second visit like that glory hole last night, and repeated listens of this record had me wanting other things… like Axe Wound. Or the glory hole from last night. This is fictional and I’m not funny. Take from this what you will. You should still absolutely listen to this record and ultimately, the worlds greatest comedian just informed the us that critics need to shut the fuck up forever… wait a minute do I still have a fucking job?!?!?
Surprise, surprise. I actually have a not-too-musically-snooty bone in my body. While in partial agreement with my fine colleague Jason, especially on the front that The Sinner
is a masterfully produced album, I am indeed capable of further appreciation. Let’s observe my cold heart soften into a pile of emotional blubber (Jason: Cold heart my ass you fucking puppy).
Being a bit of an intentional noob (for lack of a better term) when it comes to metalcore, I’m easily roped in by the start of the album which displays a lot of energy and excitement, and a very dark allure, quite reminiscent of anything remotely touching horror culture. My brain thinks, “Okay, solid start, I’m actually going to like something metalcore for once!” Wrong. Unfortunately, the continuation of the first track, “Shed My Skin,” and also the second track “The Faceless,” take me directly to the area of metalcore that just turns me off. Seems as if Kill The Lights gave into the classic “we gotta do what everyone else is doing to be successful” idea. A little too tacky with the lyrics, a little too repetitive in terms of musicality, and a little too overdone in general. I mean, Wikipedia has a LIST of all things “Kill the Lights.” Not a good sign and definitely a little annoying to those of us tired of the metal realm being bombarded by creative regurgitation (Jason: I… stand corrected).
Even though my mild hatred of the redundant content on this album does exist, let me be a little more tactful than our lovely Jason’s unyielding wrath (Jason: Hey wait a fucking second here). I’m by no means a metalcore fan, and I will not lie by saying this record held nothing for me to appreciate. Thus the above average rating! I’m a sucker for things that cool down my fiery heart, such as tracks “Through The Night,” and “Sober” that really make me feel the nostalgia on all levels emo and grunge. I can’t help but enjoy these tunes specifically for this reason. Pop these in at full blast when driving down the highway at dusk and the spooky depressive feels are pretty much guaranteed, IF you set aside the idea that a million songs are called the exact same thing.
It feels almost necessary for me to include a little more seasoned opinions coming from true Bullet For My Valentine fans. Those whose all-black uniforms lasted past high school into modern-day and those who drink strictly stout beers because anything else is too light coloured for their satanic aesthetic (it’s me, I just described myself). The Sinner is a real contrast to Bullet For My Valentine’s last two albums, where the boredom and need for more profit were so obvious it pushed most fans away. Kill the Lights sound like they’re making music for the sake of actually making music (or at least trying to) and not to cater to the giant commercial balloon that is the popular music industry. I could be wrong, but I feel a serious lack in all vibes pretentious and high-horsey, and that’s a huge plus in my little critic books.
At the end of the day, I can’t be a hater for all things mildly metalcore, especially when said records touch the emo girl heart inside my messed up mind. But Jason can, especially when lacking the core reason to make great art; making great art. As a supergroup, we expect work that is rather great and pretty much near perfect, and sure that makes us critical, but hey, that’s our job. Personally speaking, I’d be intrigued to see what Kill The Lights come up with next, especially if this leans more towards all things nostalgic, but not copying of previously existing work, since the band actually sound fantastic and clearly have enough experience to push out something truly wonderful. Jason on the other hand…Well, someone is just going to have to find him a case of anything alcoholic and possibly a grapefruit with a hole in the middle (Jason: OK That’s it! You leave my shitty fucking sex life out of thi- oh wait).
Written by Jason Greenberg and Talia Plante
*Edited by Dominic Abate