Generation Kill – We’re All Gonna Die (Nuclear Blast)Friday, 15th November 2013
Relatively new hardcore/thrash ensemble Generation Kill, consisting of members from thrash giants Exodus and hardcore devotees Merauder and Pro-Pain, returns with its second full-length offering. Showing less of the straightforward hardcore-punk influence that featured prominently on their debut, Red, White and Blood, the group instead delves into slightly more adventurous, if not always compelling, territory.
We’re All Gonna Die is notable for its diversity alone, as it shows the band expanding quite substantively on the groundwork laid down previously. Frantic thrashing, chaotic soloing, and fierce vocals define bone fide live staples “Friendly Fire,” “Vegas,” and “There Is No Hope,” with the latter transfiguring into an anthemic yet pessimistically reflective ballad halfway through before giving way to the punishing title track, a quick and furious piece that’s the clearest descendent of the debut album’s hardcore underpinnings.
The group provides occasional respite, though, in the form of the lurching doom-riffs of “Death Comes Calling,” whose Sabbath-inspired tonality is filtered through the southern sensibilities of Down (with hints of Alice in Chains–style droning), and “Prophets of War,” which balances clean, soft verses with a spacious power-chord-driven chorus before pulling another midsong left turn into thrashtown. These tracks add variety and make for a dynamic and well-paced record, as well as give Exodus frontman Rob Dukes a chance to show off his singing chops. Ultimately, it’s his soulful and often mournful crooning that gives these songs such unique character and ties the music together.
However, some songs have trouble coming into their own. Opening track “Born to Serve,” while perfectly listenable, lacks resolution musically, racheting up the tension without offering a payoff. Likewise, the peculiar “Carny Love,” despite its hilarious lyrics and creepy verse, showcases a bland chorus, and the thrash transition in “Prophets of War,” while dynamic, seems superfluous, working against the song’s overall effect.
Generation Kill is certainly on the rise and shows promising development with this latest release. While it falters in places, the inherent diversity and willingness to break the mold of genre and expectation indicate that this group’s best efforts are still forthcoming.