There is a ridiculous amount of directions and final products one can get from a supergroup. Oftentimes it’s a collaboration of washed-up has-beens clinging to the lifeblood that is the entertainment industry by banding together like a shitty crossover movie or an even shittier mismatch of wrestlers for a “tag team” type situation birthed by poor writing skills and an insatiable need to pander (otherwise known as wrestling and most of Hollywood, fucking fight me). Then there’s Killer Be Killed, AKA the golden fucking standard that any self-respecting metal ensemble should aspire to be, BKA “can absolutely any of you in this band just spit in my mouth and say Daddy is proud of you, son?” There are few releases that I have been anticipating and moistly dreaming of as much as Reluctant Hero.
I honestly don’t even feel worthy to speak on a gathering of such god-calibre artists, much less their product of such fucking beauty. Killer Be Killed, if you’re unfortunate enough to have not yet heard of them, or their first Self-Titled release, is the stuff that angry music fuck-dreams are made of. In this one rare occurrence, I don’t need to try and describe some vile gangbang of familiar bands, thus producing some unholy spawn of hell. I can just straight up fucking tell you that this band is made up of Troy Sanders, Greg Puciato, Ben Koller, and motherfucking Max Cavalera, and with that, you will get the fucking picture. Cavalera himself uttered the words “We did one record and it was very well received, and I think we can do a better one than that,” in an interview with Full Metal Jackie sometime back in 2016. We sit here now on Reluctant Hero with said words actualized in such a ridiculous fashion that after who knows how many listens, I’m still sitting here fanning myself from heat and fervour.
Reluctant Hero is absolutely everything you, a fanatic of heavier or darker music, could ever ask for with the exception of some fucking weirdos and their interpretations of art via a rusty snare drum and a metal table. It has grown from its predecessor in every conceivable fashion. You couldn’t ask for better mixing, songwriting, or consistent connectivity from one track to the next with zero breaks for a fucking cigarette or even a quick wipe down. This effort sports an unmatched melding of groove, melody, ferocity, and ambiance, while blending the maximum artistic capabilities of each of its individual contributive parts. Moments such as “Filthy Vagabond” snaps necks and breaks assholes in the way only a tune of mighty thrash and hardcore can do. “From a Crowded Wound” creeps and thunders its way through you with elements of grunge ambience and classic stoner groove. Title track “Reluctant Hero” is an indescribable work of art, with absolutely bone-chilling performances from all present vocal components. Lastly, “Dream Gone Bad,” without any argument whatsoever, with its absolute master-class addictive and fucking straight up sexy songwriting, might be one of my favorite stand-alone songs I’ve heard in this shitstorm of hell that we’ve endured and called 2020.
For supergroups and aspiring metal acts alike around the world, this record is the bar. You should want to write whole albums that fuck even remotely as hard as any one song on this record fucks. You should bring the kind of creative enthusiasm this act brings to the table, and you should fucking enjoy it, or go on and live a life of getting fucked by records like this with a smile on your face. I fucking love this goddamn record.
Written (libidinously) by Jason Greenberg
*Edited by Chris Aitkens