Kills and Thrills - Liars (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Kills and Thrills

Kills and Thrills: Liars

Liars (2010)

Hotfoot


3.5
Long Island act Kills and Thrills have transformed their sound for their first full-length, Liars, and in the process improved tremendously from 2008's Showstopper EP. Where Showstopper was sort of a screamy, newer-era post-hardcore effort in the Underoath realm, it was done poorly and uninteresting...

Long Island act Kills and Thrills have transformed their sound for their first full-length, Liars, and in the process improved tremendously from 2008's Showstopper EP. Where Showstopper was sort of a screamy, newer-era post-hardcore effort in the Underoath realm, it was done poorly and uninterestingly. Conversely, Liars is a straightforward, aggressive slab of fuzzy, rock 'n' roll-tinged metallic hardcore in the vein of Cancer Bats and Misfortunes-era This Is Hell. It's definitely a familiar sound, but a pleasant one at that.

Frontman Chris Vetter has a looser and somewhat panicked, gravelly yelp that's actually not unlike fellow Long Islander Travis Reilly (of the aforementioned TIH). In fact, Reilly even guests on album closer "Rip It Up," but you still get a nice dynamic at that point. Otherwise, Vetter is leading his band through an urgent, fierce tear that sounds like the band is playing through broken amps, and for what they do it just works. There's a few towering breakdowns, as on the title track, but they don't come off too cheesy or shoehorned, instead acting as a logical continuation of whatever intensity the band had already been brewing up to that point.

There's just enough versatility in the tones and directions here that it seems like there are practically found guitar sounds aside likable ambition. The damaged, melodic verses and haunting atmospheres of "Keep Holding On" reside in a progressive hardcore sphere directly akin to Fear Before, while street gang shouts make "Fight Riff" the album's most "fun" track. Mid-era Every Time I Die influence infects the Back to the Future reference-loaded "Hey You... Get Your Damn Hands Off Her" ("Only rock 'n' roll can save me now!"). Trumpets against metallic hardcore chaos on "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, World" sound like an idea borrowed from the last few Dillinger Escape Plan albums.

Liars is not entirely anything new, but it's wholly more enjoyable than Kills and Thrills' prior output, and provides the band some impressive new groundwork to tinker with in the future.

STREAM
Dirty Birds
Liars
Fight Riff
Crow's Nest
The Devil's Hands