Killer Be Killed — Reluctant Hero — Album Review

Metalcore | Thrash Metal

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In my years as a predominantly metal-loving teen, I did indeed feel a sense of smug pride discovering the supergroup Killer Be Killed, and their debut self-titled album, which was released back in 2014.

The supergroup consisted of Mastodon’s Troy Sanders, Soulfly’s Max Cavalera, Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato and Converge drummer Ben Koller. And upon discovering Killer Be Killed all the way back in 2014, I was mainly invested in them thanks to Troy Sanders’ inclusion.

And even to this day, that debut album proved to be an incredibly solid piece, whose brand of heaviness not only felt extremely engaging, but also seemed to bring out the best parts of each member.

And while, even as my 17 year old self, I figured that this album would only be a one-time occurance, I was proven wrong a whole six years later, with the supergroups sophomore album, Reluctant Hero.

I only really knew about the existence of Reluctant Hero very recently. In fact, I believe it must’ve been just over a week before the release of the full album, whose teasing came to my attention in the form of the music video for their second teaser track “Dream Gone Bad”, which I managed to stumble across on YouTube.

After this, I naturally wanted to rediscover Killer Be Killed on spotify once more, before being greeted by the three teasers that the band had out. With “Dream Gone Bad” sandwiched in-between the other two teasers, “Deconstructing Self-Destruction” and “Inner Calm from Outer Storms”, I felt that this trio gave me a promising idea of things to come, and all three of those tunes were enjoyable in their own right.

And with the bulk of the early part of the album being made up of these teaser tracks, Reluctant Hero seemed to get off to a pretty good start. Joining them amongst the opening four, was the brand new track “Left of Center”, which gane me strong Cancer Bats vibes, and was another solid tune.

Unfortunately, this early segment, is where almost all of my enjoyment towards the album resides; almost everything from then on, just didn’t make me feel the same way.

Whether the tracks were too patience-testing, were not gripping enough, or simply sounded obnoxiously tryhard, there was very little musical meat to chew off the near-clean bone that was the remainder of this album.

it was also at this point in the album where I noticed that the member’s respective styles felt a lot more distant from one-another, thus creating an unbearably chaotic atmosphere. The most obvious example of this would have to be the track “The Great Purge”. While this track actually contains some of the album’s most engaging melodies (hence why I’ve still kept the track), they are all sewn together in the most unpolished way imaginable. I mean, the melody and pacing of this track seems to be changing every five seconds, and that made it nearly impossible for me to get immersed in whatever the track was trying to portray.

I honestly think that if Killer Be Killed used “The Great Purge” to pull their melodies from, really flesh them out into full, individual songs, and replace half of what Reluctant Hero has currently with those, we would virtually have an amazing sophomore project. But unfortunately, we instead have something that feels like something they had to bulk up at the very last minute.

There are also tracks that simply don’t seem to fit in with the rest of the sounds on this album. The worst offender being “Filthy Vagabond” in my mind. It’s such a weirdly put-together, wannabe heavy, punky party anthem, created in a period where almost nobody needs a track like that. It simply feels bizarre.

Turning back to the positive credits I am able to give to this project, Max Cavalera pleasantly surprised me as the stand-out artist. It seemed that the majority of the moments I was actually engaged in Reluctant Hero, it was mainly Cavalera’s doing. But of course, that isn’t to say that the others didn’t also do a great job. In fact, all of the members in Killer Be Killed had their input feel more than apparent upon listening to the better moments of this project. I really enjoyed Sanders’ vocals on “Dream Gone Bad”, as well as Puciato’s vocals on “Deconstructing Self-Destruction”, and I would actually say that Ben Koller’s drumming was arguably the most consistently good aspect of the entire album.

Unfortunately, I can’t even stretch the truth that the debut from Killer Be Killed is the clear superior to Reluctant Hero. However, considering their return from a six-year hiatus, it is still decent.

Favourite Tracks: Dream Gone Bad | Inner Calm from Outer Storms | Dead Limbs

Least Favourite Track: Filthy Vagabond

Nuclear Blast


My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.