Chiller - Chiller (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Chiller (2018)

Dirt cult

                Rising from the ashes of Feral Thrash, comes Chiller. Released earlier this year on Dirt Cult Records their debut 12” brings to mind the work of their former band while also invoking elements of early Alkaline Trio, mid-era Hot Water Music, with just a dash of Sink or Swim era Gaslight Anthem thrown in here and there for good measure, this album hits you like a ton of bricks.

Featuring dual vocalists, Illisha and Eric trade male and female leads and backing vocals with ease. The real talent here is they are both able to create a level of desperation that is harder to find when a band that only has one vocalist, think Lawrence Arms verses The Broadways. While they certainly aren’t breaking ground like X did in the early 1980’s, when they pull their vocals off well they definitely bring to mind John Doe and Exene Cervenka. Eric’s vocals range from sounding like Greg Attonito to a more aggressive Ian Curtis while Illisha ranges from Shawna Potter, of War on Women, and Courtney Love during the earliest days of Hole.

In addition to great vocal performances, the band is also adept song writers. This is apparent on songs like album opener, Heretic, where they sound like Sundials era Alkaline Trio. They can write a guitar hook, but they haven’t cleaned their sound up so much in production that the songs lose their sense of urgency. This brings up another element of this release that works so well, the production; while more and more bands are trying to clean their sound up with studio magic, Chiller takes a comparatively more lo-fi route. 

Elsewhere on this release, songs like “Monophonic” continue a dark brooding sound that give off just the right amount of angst. Elsewhere, the band brings in elements from outside of the punk genre, such as “The Void” where the guitar riff brings to mind the spaghetti western work of Ennio Morricone While the music is definitely not on par with pre-Nevermind grunge, it definitely captures the mood found in it. That’s one of the best things about this album, the texture and feel of the whole thing. There’s just something so primitive about it, even though the songs are definitely of this decade, there is just something raw about how it’s all brought together that makes it that much more vial.

This is solid album that borrows from several different elements of punk and alternative. Chiller’s ability to sound vital across every single one of these tracks speaks to the powers of this band. And anyone familiar with Feral Thrash isn’t likely to be surprised by this. While it’s still early in the year, this has been one of the albums that I have been listening to quite a bit and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.