Time album cover
Total time: 15:34
Time is probably a most appropriate title for the debut EP from Baltimore's Thrillkiller. Born from the remnants of the now-defunct metal band Aries, the two founding members of Thrillkiller were not one to rest on their laurels and let a little thing like the end of one band put a stop to their musical mission. Within a few short months, Rob Bradley and Maxim Sobchenko picked up the pieces and reassembled quite nicely, and Thrillkiller is nothing at all like their previous band. Indeed, time was of the essence, and Thrillkiller wasted none of it as they closed one chapter and moved on to another.
For fans of Aries, it might be a bit of a shock to hear how different Thrillkiller is in style; but on the other hand, it is not so left-of-center that they can't climb aboard and enjoy this music for itself as well. More along the lines of rock or pop than straight-up metal, Thrillkiller is also a fantastic exhibition of just how diverse both Maxim and Rob are as musicians and songwriters.
Before you all panic at the mention of the word “pop”, that is not to say that the music doesn't rock, because it does: Thrillkiller has not completely abandoned their metal style and can still craft a wickedly aggressive tune when they have a mind to, but this project is clearly to show that metal is not all they're about: they have an incredible ability for penning catchy melodies with hooks that will stick in your head forever. The best example of this is the song “In Too Deep”, which has a chorus that will stay with you long after the song is over and, if you're like me, you might find yourself humming at random, unexpected moments. Thrillkiller is bringing back all the aspects that made pop music enjoyable and listenable; back when “pop” was equated with strong harmonies and memorable lyrics for singing along. You can hear the influences of ’80s pop artists like Michael Jackson and Prince in the music, but you'd be hard-pressed to name any particular song or album from those artists that it may sound like.
The debut EP is only 4 songs, but wow! These four tunes are so solid; there are many full-length albums out there that can't say they have that many songs that are this polished and so well-made.
“Passion Killer”: From the start, Maxim's guitar riffs are so hooky that you could sing along to them by themselves! Then of course there is Rob's distinct voice; both the verses and the chorus are so catchy. What a kick-ass guitar solo! This song is a perfect album-opener; from start to finish it does its job as getting you motivated to hear the rest.
“Time”: This is a tune that the metalheads and fans of Aries will probably gravitate to; it is the heaviest of the 4 tunes, and damn, that chorus is so memorable! Maxim gives the listeners a metal-flavored guitar solo that is sure to please all the rockers out there, and Rob shrieks those high notes that remind you that he is one hell of a metal vocalist.
“In Too Deep”: My favorite track on the EP, this song is so hooky and so catchy. I often wonder sometimes if it is a blessing or a curse to get songs stuck in your head, but if you are one of those people who have that deficit (for lack of a better term) of never having that happen to you, one listen to this song will cure you of that ailment, and this sing-along tune will be following you around for days in a most pleasant way.
“The Storm”: The EP's final track kicks off with a guitar riff that, again, you could hum along to of its own accord. This song sounds like something that would be in a James Bond movie; it gives that vibe of mystery and suspense. I like it. Of course, it's not complete without a rip-roaring guitar solo that only adds to the intensity of the tune. A fitting closer track.
Overall opinion: Full of riffs that would make any guitar god proud, and vocals that could shatter glass or melt your face off, Thrillkiller is a worthy continuation of what Aries had been. While this is something very different, there is also a lot there that Aries fans can latch onto and find themselves enjoying. While Thrillkiller could not exactly be classified as metal, the album rocks hard and it has a lot of bite to it, for all the pop influences and catchy hooks. I cannot say enough how addicting these songs are; they instantly grab on to you and never let go, even long after the song is over. If you are a fan of hard rock music with a bit of gloss to it, then Thrillkiller is something worth checking out. Just because music is heavy does not mean it has to lack in melody; and just because a band incorporates pop influences does not mean it has to be middle-of-the-road or predictable. Thrillkiller proves this within 4 songs in about 15 minutes. If these 4 songs are any indication as to what they have in store for a full-length album, then they are going to be one of the best new bands of 2016!
Special thanks to Rob Bradley and Maxim Sobchenko
For more information on Thrillkiller, visit their ReverbNation page