North-Rhine Westphalian quartet Killing A Lion are a band who have stated that they don’t feel like their sound should be confined by a simplistic genre tag. Usually, a statement like this has the mental klaxon’s blaring, the red lights flashing and all kinds of warning signs being thrown up. The majority of the time, whenever that sentiment is aired by a band, unless they are somewhat progressive or avant-garde leaning, or talented enough to blend multiple genres with minimal effort needed, the band is usually trying to promote themselves as something special and this usually results in said band sounding rather poor, unremarkable or easily given a few straightforward genre styling tags. In this case, after listening to this release plenty of times over the past few weeks whilst living the lockdown life, I can hand on heart say that this debut release is Alternative/Nu Metal.
With a sound which has the album sounding more like something from the later years of the Nu-Metal explosion (2004-2006) and the early years of the melodic alternative metal years (also the same time period). Alternating bouts of clean and raw vocals, huge chunky distortion and a heavy focus on a groove-driven delivery all combine to make a solid 8 track release for this style of music. From the energetic and diverse sounding opening track “Man Drowning Slow” to the more melodic and atmosphere driven “Gone”, Killing A Lion have a level of consistency across the tracks with their delivery and musical approach. Comfortable in clean dominant sections to powerful, commanding and sustained distorted choruses, the music has some moments of technical proficiency and flair, but the riffs and the vocals seem to give a lot more direction than the melodic leads.
Whilst the band might be consistent overall, it’s not a good level of consistency. Apart from two or three tracks in the first half of the release, it is overall an underwhelming album which seems to rely on the quirky alternative sounds or the grooves to carry the majority of the tracks. The band veers slightly towards the progressive metal inspired regions of the metal spectrum but apart from some twisting riffs or quick and flashy lead spots, it doesn’t really work for them the way they might have envisioned it did in the studio. There are some points where the band could pass off as being a slightly quirky metalcore band, but then the overly quirky sections which try to blend funk and reggae in, like (Hed) P.E kick in, and it serves as a stark reminder as to why Killing A Lion are definitely a Nu-Metal leaning musical act, and one which leans to the not-so-good side of that genre! (Stop rolling your eyes, there was/is good Nu-Metal!)
Overall, “Bombs Of Affection” might have been a success 20 years ago, but that style and sound is only good for an occasional listen to most these days. If you slipped a track like “Day Requires A Night” into a metal club playlist alongside Spineshank and Static-X, it would work great, if you put Killing A Lion on one of the ‘nostalgia tours’ or had them playing with Dope, again, they would work great, but on their own… Meh.