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ikillya - "Recon" (CD)

ikillya - "Recon" CD cover image

"Recon" track listing:

1. At My Signal (:39)
2. ...And Hell Followed With Him (3:48)
3. E.H.R. (3:55)
4. Razorblades (5:10)
5. Godsize (4:11)
6. Lifesblood (3:51)
7. Bombs Away (3:27)
8. Escape Plan (3:41)
9. Jet Fuel Genetic (4:54)
10. Echoes in Eternity (3:00)

Reviewed by on July 13, 2011

"Fine-tuning the details and removing the things that don’t pay off (ambient instrumental, clean vocals) could spell big things for this NYC outfit looking to tower above the rest of their peers."

IKILLYA comes from the fertile New York City metal scene, where their brand of groove metal has been gaining traction. Like a melodic take on Lamb of God, IKILLYA has found even ground between pounding the listener into dust and having them sing along to a killer vocal melody. “Recon” takes this premise and spreads it across ten amble tracks. The album is the right length and has a series of wild, inventive choices that pay off. It’s just enough to overlook a few vocal disparities and flawed instrumental choices.

“Recon” is an album with seething anger and biting hatred. This is fist-pumping music that only metal heads dream of. “Bombs Away” and “...And Hell Followed With Him” are the right kind of anthems: catchy, heavy, and hard to forget. “Razorblades” and “E.H.R.” have similar qualities, though they aim for a higher purpose. Guitarist Dave Kerr goes on a solo frenzy during the former, and the sharp bass work from Mansa Gory stands out on both tunes.

The band seems eager to avoid perplexing listeners with a collection of songs that all sound like “...And Hell Followed With Him.” A booming horns section placates the chorus to “Jet Fuel Genetic.” Horns and metal don’t correlate often, but IKILLYA handles it with pizazz. The same can’t be said for the powerless clean vocals that pop up on “Godsize.” Jason Lekberg has the throat to handle vicious growls and screams, but a softer tone doesn’t suit him or the type of music it accompanies.

The meat of the album is fresh, but the intro and closing track are the equivalent of moldy bread that sandwiches said meat. “At My Signal” fails in building up any sort of anticipation for “Recon,” and the ambient “Echoes In Eternity” is only good for a single listen. The latter is just the noise of a busy NYC. It’s an interesting diversion, yet doesn’t have a spark to it worthy of trudging through three minutes of it.

It’s amazing how far a band like Lamb of God or Pantera climbed, reaching success not only in metal, but in the mainstream as well. Don’t assume that to be an apt comparison to IKILLYA’s first album “Recon.” The drive is there, like those two other bands possessed. Fine-tuning the details and removing the things that don’t pay off (ambient instrumental, clean vocals) could spell big things for this NYC outfit looking to tower above the rest of their peers.

Highs: Band's groove/death sound is brimming with aggression, use of horns on "Jet Fuel Genetic" pays off, band is in fine form instrumentally

Lows: Powerless clean vocal tones, "Echoes in Eternity" is ambient filler, potential that isn't fully utilized

Bottom line: A decent debut that will find an audience with fans of modern metal a la Machine Head and Lamb of God.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)