KILL THE UNICORN
I'll say this from the off. The cover art to this album is terrible. It's quirky, for sure. Eye-catching... hmmm... maybe, but for the wrong reasons. And, dare I say, misleading for Kill the Unicorn's music. Ostensibly, this promises some kind of fucked up psychedelia. This Swiss bunch, who formed in 2014 and only have a 3-track EP to their name thus far, have now released their first full-length work, 'Prism', and it's quirky and batty, just like the artwork, but in an entirely different way. This is all about refined quirkiness and battiness. It's like Periphery meets Horse The Band, dressed up with some BTBAM creativity and Mike Patton-esque weirdness.
It's cacophonically crazy in places, although without hitting the deranged heights of the likes of Unexpect or Fantômas. And it's more euphonic in others... Ziggy Lebon's (what a name... sounds like something Matt Berry might utter from a 'Toast of London' script) and Raphael Zumstein's guitar work, for instance, is given enough breathing space during certain passages to forge some great melodies. And said players let rip over others, occasionally verging on the fretboard insanity of Psyopus' Chris Arp, and jazzy interludes that bring to mind some of the earlier stuff unleashed by Davide Tiso's greatly missed Ephel Duath.
'Prism' is also about heavy grooves. Some very heavy grooves... that make some of the more aurally challenging time signatures accessible. This is music with handles. If you're going to throw all kinds of innovative heaviness into the mix then, rather than descend into pure, inaccessible cacophony, it's a good idea to infuse your songs with enough openings so as not to completely distance the listener. Kill the Unicorn achieve this largely through their grooves... on guitars, bass and drums. In this sense, 'Prism' is a great listen.
On the down side, Pipo Thalmann's growled delivery does become a little two-dimensional as the album progresses. Some more vocal variance would've been nice. And, compositionally, it does feel like they're retreading the same sonic ground a little too much on occasion. The opening to 'Pitch Black VR', for example, sounds like it segues directly from 'Rendevouz with Cleopatra'. Although the cat's meow right at the end of 'Ode to Spot' brought a smile to my face. We need more cats in metal!
Despite my minor criticisms, this is a very good listen indeed. I'd never heard of this mob before 'Prism' turned up for review, but I'll certainly be keeping a keen eye and expectant ear on just what they might do next.
Review by Mark Holmes
2nd October 2017
1) Motoko Kusanagi
2) Dreams in 56k
3) Ode to Spot
4) Wormhole to Gliese
6) Me and My Velociraptor
10) Rendevouz with Cleopatra
11) Pitch Black VR
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"This is all about refined quirkiness and battiness. It's like Periphery meets Horse The Band, dressed up with some BTBAM creativity and Mike Patton-esque weirdness."