Yaphet Kotto - The Killer Was In The Government Blankets (Cover Artwork)

Yaphet Kotto

Yaphet Kotto: The Killer Was In The Government BlanketsThe Killer Was In The Government Blankets (1999)

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I'm going to be blunt about this. Yaphet Kotto is absolutely the best band many of you have never heard of. Hailing from Santa Cruz, the emotive hardcore outfit will make you throw most of your old hardcore records out. Many bands claim passionate intensity with intricate musicianship, but The Kille.

I'm going to be blunt about this. Yaphet Kotto is absolutely the best band many of you have never heard of. Hailing from Santa Cruz, the emotive hardcore outfit will make you throw most of your old hardcore records out. Many bands claim passionate intensity with intricate musicianship, but The Killer Was In The Government Blankets will actually give some validity to that description. These 9 songs will knock you on your ass, and after it's done you won't even want to get back up.

Where most bands fail and come off sounding calculated and contrived, Yaphet Kotto will deliver like no other. That area? Passion. Every throat-shredding vocal is dripping with conviction, and you believe every word you hear, which really helps in driving home the lyrics, full of political and social awareness unlike anywhere else in the hardcore scene. Not every band is suited to speak of politics or similar things in their music, but when a band is, it has to be believable. For instance, how seriously would you take Mest talking about the Iran Contra affair? But that's not an issue here, as the two vocalists create a frenzied passion that really is unrivaled by any bands around today. From start to finish, the lyrics evoke a real sense of urgency, so with the passion presented in the vocals, you have yourself an amazing package that really drives each and every word home. There are so many examples of just how hard hitting these lyrics are, but a few particular lines from "Suffocate" always really impressed me;

Right boot oppresses me, making it impossible to breathe / One foot placed on my neck, and the others welcoming / Complaints go unheard, a simple task / Not make believe, would make them see / .. / Majority rules, both hands outstretched / With no attempt, and they don't reach / The status quo was planned to make up a place for me / The working class denied, shown for the last time / You took more from me than I gave you.
That's the kind of strong songwriting shown throughout the entire album, with both vocalists really putting their heart into every single word. Just as strong as the lyrics and vocals is the instrumentation laid down here. The transitions between clean and crunching guitars are absolutely flawless, and both guitarists intertwine to create some real moments of insanity. They might slow down at points, but the intensity doesn't even waver for a split second.

After some feedback, the album's opener "First Meetings Agreement" breaks the door right down. You can tell right from the outset that this is going to be one hell of a song. The song breaks towards the middle for some slowly intensifying drum fills, and then lulls back down to a dull roar, and slowly fades into the next track, and definitely one of the album's strongest, "Torn Pictures." The vocals here are nothing short of incredible, and the guitar work just makes the song that much better. The album's strongest track comes with "B And C," which leads in with some cool bass lines, then proceeds to punch you in the face, repeatedly. The vocals sound so urgent and the guitars accentuate that to a tee. This is Yaphet Kotto at their absolute best.

Things keep going at a good pace throughout the rest of the album, having its spastic vocal freakouts, and slower, more driving moments, but there's absolutely no filler here. Every aspect is just as strong as the last. The vocals and lyrics are top notch, the musicianship is incredible, and for the most part, the production is on point as well. There are one or two sporadic moments where the backing vocals are kind of lost in things, but it's definitely not enough to detract from any of the songs.

I really can't praise this album enough. I've owned it for about 3 years now, and it's still in constant play, if not in my stereo, then on my computer. This album is everything hardcore, in essence, is meant to be. Passionate, urgent, aware, and damn is it loud. The two albums recorded after this, and We Bury Our Dead Alive are just as stellar as this, but right here's where it all began, in all its chaotic and spastic glory. No review will truly do justice to anything this band records, but I really urge all of you, fans of hardcore or not, to give this band a try. Somewhere along the line bands and labels lost sight of why music is truly made, but Yaphet Kotto and Ebullition have put up one hell of a fight to turn things around.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
NYHCHasNothingOnMe (January 20, 2006)

i have this on wax and i listen to it non stop great album.

Sally_Field (April 21, 2005)


SilentStorms (March 10, 2005)

Wait! Jones the Bones listens to screamo? Welcome to tha club you bastard!

SilentStorms (March 10, 2005)

As in where the hell do I find the EP?!?!?!

SilentStorms (March 6, 2005)

What Welcome the Plague Year EP!?!?! I have the demo and full length, but never heard anything about an ep. Byacka.

dazed (March 5, 2005)

I have this and one of their other album but I'm kind of on the fence about this band. I'm with the other guy who said it's just not his thing.

Anchors (March 5, 2005)

They're still around.

They just released their third full length, We Bury Our Dead Alive late last year.

Anonymous (March 5, 2005)

Good review...I haven't thought or heard about this band in a long time, but about 6 years ago I used to practice in a studio in which Yaphet Kotto also rehearsed, and every time I walked by their room whatever they were playing sounded amazing and insane, punk, very musical, you can call it hardore or try to label them but to do so would be a disservice. I will try and track down this album. If they sound anything close to what I remember I am in for a treat soon!

Anonymous (March 5, 2005)

Ebullition is a great, honest distro that gets records out on time. Send them some money.

Score is for Ebullition.


P.S. Send bob @ Sound Idea Distro some money too.

Anonymous (March 5, 2005)

" One monotone yeller, one monotone high pitched singer, and some alright instrumentation"
totally see where you're coming from. I haven't listened to this LP in about a year but from what i remember it was impossible to make out what anyone was screaming/whining about, but i was interested so checked out the lyrics sheet and was pleasantly surprised. Though its not a bad thing, this band pulls it off quite well.

Is this band still around?

Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

someone need to review the welcome the plague year ep that came out last year

Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

Yaphet Kotto's best work:

-Midnight Run
-The Running Man.

stevejonestherealbones (March 4, 2005)

thanks, this cd is actually only 6 bucks there

-j the b

Anchors (March 4, 2005)

Jones, I'm pretty sure you can pick up any full lenth of theirs for $8 in the Ebullition distro. www.ebullition.com

It's a worthy investment.

Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

this band is seriously amazing. They keep coming and going, but will always be amazing

stevejonestherealbones (March 4, 2005)

is there anywhere i can here songs from this band

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

MarkieStabone (March 4, 2005)

are you guys talking about the west side?

yellowtrash (March 4, 2005)

I'm pretty sure these guys are from the east bay.

Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

Music that makes you listen. Heck, if you could (for some reason) buy only three hardcore albums this should be one of them.


Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

wicked underrated label and one of the best mail order distros in the world

SilentStorms (March 4, 2005)

I don't have this album but I have the next two LPs, and although I like the band, they're just not my thing. I understand why a lot of people like them, and I think a lot of you should give them a try. I'm trying to name drop here but I'm having a hard time. One monotone yeller, one monotone high pitched singer, and some alright instrumentation. Fuck I don't know. Nevermind.

MarkieStabone (March 4, 2005)


Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

I'm not really sure about them being from Santa Cruz, I live there and have never heard of them playing here. I think they may be from Oakland or somewhere around there. Its not really that big of a deal, trivial actually, but just curious.

joeg (March 4, 2005)

So they should've named the band "G"

Kenjamin (March 4, 2005)

I've seen and heard plenty of ex-yappet kotto bands but have heard nothing from the band themselves.

Anonymous (March 4, 2005)

Homicide was the shit but they should have been named after his character.


joeg (March 4, 2005)

oh and the name rules. Homicide was the shit back in the day.

joeg (March 4, 2005)

I've heard of this band in passing. I'm interested but too bad they don't have any audio samples.

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