VARIOUS ARTISTS – Kill City Volume 3

  • 6.5/10
    VARIOUS ARTISTS - Kill City Volume 3 - 6.5/10


272 Records
Release Date: January 10, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The concept behind 272 Records is quite interesting: Regularly, the US label releases underground compilations for various musical genres. There is Punk Kills for, well, Punk; Glamnation for Glam; others feature acoustic, Pop, Indie and whatever-styles, and of course, there is a Metal compilation as well. The latter is called Kill City and can look back on seven releases, each filled to the max with real underground sounds.

No information is publicly available how the system works, but since the compilations are at budget price, it looks like a more idealistic than business approach. Although the times of real hard copy compilations seems passed in the light of availability of music via the internet and Myspace, the compilations achieve one goal: the bands stand out a notch from the other thousands of underground noise makers that make it hard to find the good ones among the ashes of more or less talented bands.

Kill City gives some bands a forum for their art and spans a wide spectrum of styles, only avoiding progressive waters. To be fair to the bands, it is necessary to take a brief look at each in turn as a general verdict is difficult to reach. So, time to see what Kill City Volume 3 has to offer …

Lowmen: The band plays hard Rock n’ Roll, sometimes reminds of Monster Magnet; the singer is quite good in his rawness, the sound is okay for an underground recording, and even though it is not highly original, this track is a good start for the compilation. Score: 6.0

Destination X: Power Metal is on the rise again for the past few years, and Destination X – and a few others on this album – bear witness to that. The song is nice with good riffing and an old fashioned singer, slight R ‘n’ R and Punk influences, but all based solidly in 80’s Metal. Score: 6.5

Facedrill: Hardcore is the game! A typical, foreseeable song with the obligatory breakdown, which is just too much of a stereotype. Not really bad, but becomes boring after a few spins. Score: 5.0

The Howl: Traditional Heavy Metal with a sound that deserves the attribute “underground.” Old fashioned, but okay. Score: 5.5

Alloura Faux: This is the wildest track on the compilation. Mainly playing Punk Metal, the song lacks structure for the most part, and the vocals fail to hold the music together. Interesting, but not really good. Score: 3.5

Metaphor: This must be a band from California, as mid-tempo Thrash with a good dose of melody is the classic game of the Bay. The acoustic mid-section also fits the bill. Good! Score: 7.0

Noxious: A very fitting name for a Punk band, cause that’s what they are. And fast. Nice, although not much different from hundreds of other bands. The song is a bit too long at almost four and a half minutes, but still okay. Probably one hell of a band live. If you like sweaty mosh pits, that is. Score: 5.0

Trinity: Driving rhythm from the start lets one’s feet tap. Good Hard Rock, good voice, definitely one of the best songs on the compilation. Well done, guys! Score: 7.0

Hazmat: Alternative Hard Rock with a bit of a Faith No More feeling and Thrashy Riffing. Although a bit too long, still quite good. Score: 6.5

Ghost Guard: What sounds like a Baywatch fan club with spelling problems turns out to be a Black Metallic tour de force with Blastbeats, combined with a mid-tempo mid section. The singer is the weak part in the mix and makes them score sub par. Score: 4.0

Hell’s Sweat: A Death Metal / Hardcore melange with vocals that could use some improvements. Not bad, also not standing out. Score: 5.0

Clincher: Difficult to characterize, as this is basically standard Hard Rock. Not more, but also not less. Rocks fine, and even when it may not be the next big thing, this song is worthy of being spun again. Score: 6.0

.357 Soundsystem: Death grunts imbedded in a sound which would embarrass every eighties’ LA garage. If you listen closely, you can hear a mediocre song, but it is not much fun to do so. Score: 2.5

Dogs Of War: These Dogs compete with Alloura Faux for the most chaotic track on the compilation. Unfortunately, the disharmonic arrangements and the weak singer makes them hardly better than their competitors. Score: 3.0

Somehow Flamable: Interesting name … but the music is not so bad. Partly Hard Rockin’, always melodic, with some parts that sound even relaxed, this track is quite original and interesting. Also, the band has one of the best singers on the whole album. Only one section in the middle seems a bit out of place, but it would be nice to hear more from them in the future. Score: 5.5

Raid: Back to Power Metal, unfortunately of the kind, which could be easily improved by changing singers. If the guy on the microphone also plays an instrument, the suggestion would be to add another member to the band. If not, well … the song itself is good, but Power Metal also relies on melody, and this recording cannot deliver. Score: 3.5

Abandoned Dream: Traditional Heavy Metal lacking any new ideas, again with a singer who needs some more lessons. Not much more to say. Score: 4.0

Scourged Flesh: Towards the end, another track to wake one up! A wild mix of Black and Death, with a … how can he be described? Singer? No. Better to say “thing” on the microphone that will make your neighbors call the police, or the vet. Unfortunately, not really good, just surprisingly different on this compilation. Score: 3.5

Decomvulsion: The final track of the compilation, unfortunately, one of the bad ones. The style is Power Metal, with one of the weakest productions on the album, and again the crux is the singer, who unfortunately cannot hit any note or keep one up, and gallops though all the keys of the universe only avoiding one – the right one. No fun to listen to at all. Score: 1.0

Overall, as it was to be expected with a compilation of 19 songs from 19 different bands, there are good ones and not so good ones. Still, these are all underground bands, so one cannot expect professionalism and has to accept the raw charm of the music. Since the compilation is available for a fan-friendly price, even a handful of good tracks makes it worth the purchase. That is the reason why the album gets a better score than the average score appointed to the 19 bands. The label even offers a three-pack bundle of Kill City compilations for 20 US Dollars, so this album is available for under 7 US Dollars. Lowmen, Destination X, Metaphor, Trinity, Hazmat, and Clincher are already worth the investment, and since the musical styles vary, it may be that everyone finds another band or two which he likes.

The final verdict can be nothing but: Get it, judge yourself, but don’t compare it to one of the contemporary professional releases. That would not be fair, and would lead the whole effort of 272 Records ad absurdum. A real taste of the international underground is what this album is supposed to be, and in that regard it delivers.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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