Review

Review

Kill the Precedent: 'Dialogues with the Dead' – CD Review

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Sacramento, CA-based industrial-punk-metal supergroup Kill the Precedent assembled around seven years ago, and since then they've been generating a lot of positive buzz. Hailed by fans as the second coming of Ministry (Al Jourgensen is definitely one of their creative inspirations), KTP have been leaving their bloody mark with outrageous stage performances and a sonic assault from a massive lineup packing three guitars, bass and drums, dueling vocalists Sean “The Ugly American” Smith and Jason "Twig the Exfoliator" VonWussow, and a barrage of programmed rhythms and samples. Their live shows are quickly becoming legendary, with constantly revolving themes that include zombie beach parties, blood-splattered slaughterhouses, Zodiac Killer masks, police and airline uniforms... even a Gilligan's Island theme! In other words, you never know what you're gonna get. The band's first full-length album Dialogues with the Dead dropped this week, and it's just as wildly unpredictable as their image.
 
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While the influence of Ministry is apparent throughout the record, KTP has incorporated a much wider spectrum of extreme-music elements into their sound, drawing equally from hardcore punk, shock rock and KMFDM-style heavy beat, and they summon much of the same chaotic, anything-goes vibe that made Martin Atkins' experimental supergroup Pigface so shockingly memorable. “Sonically, we have an industrial backbone,” Twig recently told the Sacramento Bee. “There are strong punk and hardcore roots, and the music can jump from thrash to dance anthems in mere seconds. No two songs sound the same as a result. It's out of hand.” The same can be said for the band's live performances, which often spill over into the audience for an unpredictable interactive experience. "We accept all consequences, destroy all standards, and set no boundaries," he concluded. “Music can be dangerous and unpredictable. Everybody listening should play a part.”
 
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He's right, and the band backs that up: Dialogues is a schizoid genre explosion that never sticks with a single musical style for more than one track... and sometimes they don't even wait that long. Even with the samples and Frankensteinian electronic stimulation, tracks like the infectious "Free Reign (Everybody's Dead)" and "Some People" are vintage fist-pumping hardcore punk anthems at heart, plus we get punk/metal crossovers in "Questions for Weapons" and the call-and-response energy of “Let Go,” with some surprising injections of soaring melody in "Goodbye Lullaby,” on which you can really get a sense of the band's size and scope. Of course, the relentless death-machine riffs and power-tool beats of "Ghost Stories,” "Copout" and "End All" are intensely faithful odes to Ministry, as you can hear for yourself:
 
 
Other industrial-strength material includes the dance-metal of "Headcase" and "Oh Your God," the latter sounding for all the world like a Ministry/GWAR collaboration. Another standout is "Freakonomics," which snaps violently between blistering hardcore, anthemic rap-rock and a beefy, drop-tuned Pantera groove. There's even a dark ambient instrumental interlude, "Unhappy with This World,” which forms a brief but seriously chilling coda.
 
If you're ready for a band that slams together just about every extreme style in the book for maximum impact and a huge, stacked sound – but still manages to latch onto a few really amazing shout-along hooks – then you might be ready for the maniacal onslaught that is Kill the Precedent. Here's a good test for you, in the form of a lyric video for one of the most memorable tracks on the album, “Free Reign (Everybody's Dead).” Hit it and see how many horror movie clips you can identify!
 
 
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