Album Review :
Kiss the Gunner - Why Are We So Dead?

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Artist: Kiss the Gunner
Album: Why Are We So Dead?
Label: Harvest Earth Records
Release Date: January 23, 2007
Review by: Eric Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Two Beats away from a Heart Attack
2. Drag the Waters
3. That’s Some Good Yellin’
4. Instrumental
5. Southern Comfort Ain’t No Comfort
6. Turkey Hotshot
7. As the City Falls around Us
8. Suffer the Children
9. Outro

“Kiss the Gunner” is derived from an old pirate phrase “kiss the gunner’s daughter.” To the five gentlemen who comprise this band, its name is all about loving those the world considers unlovable, as said in an interview with Buzzgrinder. I’m not sure if that’s a cut at metalcore fans worldwide, or maybe just the kids who get stuck into ruts that say what is or is not hardcore, what is or is not metal. If the latter is the case, it’s great that Kiss the Gunner will be all about loving those kids, but those kids may not be so keen on loving KTG, one of the few band to truly be shaking up the rigid bones of today’s hard music scene.

The nine song debut, Why Are We So Dead?, emerges out of nowhere to declare a new direction for the droves of generic metalcore bands. In such an over-saturated scene, Kiss the Gunner somehow creates a sound that is frighteningly new. “Two Beat away from a Heart Attack” starts the album off strong and heavy with vocals ranging from the sassy shouts of southern rock to the guttural growls of grindcore to an clean-sung ending more along the lines of melodic hardcore. The marriage of sub-genres continues through “Drag the Waters,” with a sweet breakdown about halfway through the track. “That’s Some Good Yellin’” shows the influence of chaotic hardcore with more squeals and riff changes than Norma Jean could handle. The instrumental is epic in sound, but not too long, and the crushing guitars and brutal vocals soon return for “Southern Comfort Ain’t No Comfort,” complete with sung chorus and gang vocals during the closing breakdown. Most importantly, this song combines with “Turkey Hotshot” to completely illustrate Kiss the Gunner’s message. The former admits failure and the realization of a need for Jesus, while the second prays “My God, rain down your love over the hearts of the weak,” and boldly proclaims “We are the ones who follow You.” The chaos, thrash, chugga-chugga, heavy metal, melodic hardcore, and southern rock all continue throughout “As the City Falls around Us” and “Suffer the Children,” which ends on the line “We are nothing without You.” The “Outro” is piano based and includes some strings and drums, giving the listener some time to think about that last lyric before quickly popping in the next disc or, more likely, hitting repeat.

At risk of being too repetitive, Kiss the Gunner have been able to set themselves apart from a scene that is just that: too repetitive. Their brand of metalcore combines more influences than I previously would have thought possible. I think the only way they could have packed more into this thing would have been to include some jazz, which isn’t at all a bad idea, and I highly recommend they do so for the next full length. Just please, Kiss the Gunner, for the love of God and music, don’t ruin your sound by adding rap to the mix.

8/10

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