Industrial In L.A.: Krell Haunts The Scene
I dropped in on Krell performing at The Joint in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 4th with some high expectations. I have been listening to this band's music on MySpace now for several weeks prior to doing this review and let me just say it was a night I won't soon forget.
The opening band was the highly experimental/progressive metal act HEALER, featuring former White Zombie drummer Ivan de Prume and other notable rock music talents: Scott von Heldt on guitar/vocals (KURAI, THEATER OF MADNESS), Jerry Scott on bass (XYZ, MOLLY HATCHET) and Martin St-Pierre on Violin, Yailli Tambur and programming (Cirque Du Soleil). What I found most intriguing is how unique their sound is. They had some really well-crafted songs, from Awakening to Groovinopolis that somehow managed to capture your interest and hold it all the way until the very end. It's rare on the music scene today to see such highly gifted musicians that are willing to do something 'outside the box' to make a personal artistic statement. I applaud this group wholeheartedly, and I was lucky enough to even spend a couple moments backstage telling Ivan this very thing. What a very approachable cat Ivan seemed to be and clearly more than stoked to hear me say that to him. They even had a belly dancer with serpentine-like moves up on the stage as they jammed through their roughly 45 minute Part Eastern World and Part Western Metal set. Even the light show that they put together, while not the most sophisticated ever seen, was very well done and managed to effectively create a spiritual-type ambience in the room. They ended the set with a cover of Zombie's Black Sunshine... and though it wasn't nearly as heavy as I would've liked, they stayed very true to its orginal vibe.
Now for the headliner, KRELL, a knockout-delivering industrial/metal group spawned from the city of Lost Angels, simply blew my mind with their balls to the walls all-out metal performance, immediately once they got rolling. This band features Dirt Von Karloff of Society 1 fame and let me say right now that this guy is one of the scariest-looking bassists ever in Rock history. Gene Simmons, Sid Vicious and Jerry Montano are the only others that come to mind that are on the same playing field. What a talent to witness. He sells his tatt'd down horror film killer-image like no other while he's up there, bringing to mind the most famous gruesome movie legends of the past in names like Lon Chaney or Boris Karloff himself. The band, fronted by one of the more charismatic and talented lead vocalists I've seen in some time, Gym Krell, an utter throwback to true full-throttle rock vocalists of the past like Bon Scott or Jizzy Pearl from Love/Hate. KRELL launched into a blistering cover of The Byrds classic tune Jesus Is Just Allright. Adam on lead guitar and Anna on drums were rock solid as well -- and it seemed Anna on drums was there to put the word out to other female rock drummers of today that she's a legitimate run-for-the-money in musical talent and gritty performance. Truly one of the more fresh and gripping metal acts I've ever witnessed on the Los Angeles scene... and I've been seeing shows here for 23 years. I'd say they bring to mind the likes of early Guns N Roses, L.A. Guns, Coal Chamber or even Motley Crue. Yes, they are this good.
Whipping through each song next like a whirlwind, Krell stepped up the metal ante with chilling offerings such as Crucified and Control'd, songs that were definite crushing crowd pleasers. I myself was headbanging like it was the 80's all over again. Which speaks to the importance of this group at this point in the ongoing saga of true metal music. I fully believe I was as enthralled by their dynamic chemistry and commitment to throwing their hat into the ring. What most metal bands of today do is simply go with the more extreme black or death metal interest, sheep being herded around -- when what matters is the song itself at the end of the day. Period. And KRELL delivers great songs. I also had the ultimate honor to be able to hang out with the band after the show, and I was even more blown away at what terrific people they all are. Myself, Dirt, Adam and The Russian Mobster guy were doing some shots of Jag at the bar. Needless to say, we had some fun conversation and great laughs. KRELL is a band that can really make an impact. It's pretty apparent from my praise here that they did, didn't they? And the funniest thing of it all is that they are just really getting started. I wait in hardcore anticipation of their future live shows and first released album. Stay tuned for my coming interview with Dirt which will cover more ground for us on this new metal beast called KRELL.
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