Release DetailsLABEL Harvest Earth Records
RELEASED ON 1/23/2007
Kiss The Gunner
Why Are We So Dead
“Kiss the Gunner was formed in January 2006 when two guys came up with the idea of trying to push the limits of what was happening in the music scene. Combined with their desire to push the limits of where Christian bands have gone in the past and working hard to get their message across and their music out there, the band's drive was formed.”
If there’s a gullible bastard award, feel free to nominate me. “Ian,” you’ll say, with mouth agape, “you didn’t actually believe that Kiss the Gunner was going to push the limits, did you?” Well, kind of. See, I really wanted to believe that Why Are We So Dead was going to be a forward-thinking gem, something that Christian metalcore has largely lacked since the dissolution of Training for Utopia. Of course, I conveniently forgot one of my main rules that guards against reading into self-absorbed promotion: If a band trumpets their experimentalism and inventiveness above all things, they’re usually anything but. So, as you can expect, I took quite a tumble into the ol’ Burmese hype trap, and, with hyperbole-tipped sticks perforating my body, all I got was a mix of metalcore/deathcore clichés with a smidge of He is Legend.
But, to be honest, I think whoever wrote the bio that appears on their MySpace page missed the point entirely. Kiss the Gunner doesn’t worry about trying to be a few steps ahead of the crowd, instead they worry about fully satisfying the crowds that comes out to their shows. The lack of originality and the recycling of age-old (in core terms) clichés are almost made up for by the breadth and scope of their core-related gimmickry. Gang shouts, hand claps, wonky signing, BREEdowns, and Christcore’s current fixation with rock n’ roll all make an appearance on Why Are We So Dead, and it’s all deliberately placed to ensure maximum crowd participation. They don’t want to push limits, they want push pits, and by adhering to the logic of Sonny Rollins (and I’m trying really hard not to sound like your dad), Why Are We So Dead is simply an advertisement for the live show; a really sloppy live show that depends on the audiences' familiarity and appreciation of those well-worn tricks.
As “Suffer the Children” (sadly, not a cover) and “Drag the Waters” (ditto) make painfully clear, instrumental ability has been traded in for pure energy and an unwavering belief in their message. Common core leads are in constant danger of skidding out control, like a Bacon Bits-craving puppy on a wet floor, and never seem to be on the same page as the drums. But, it’s the songwriting itself that let’s the band down more than their musicianship. Logical transitions and build-ups are nearly non-existent. There’s no internal rise and fall, making Why Are We So Dead fairly one note. Kiss the Gunner’s youthful exuberance does make that one note sound far livelier than it should, but the fact remains that true unpredictability has been substituted with cheap, illogical surprises that don’t hold up on subsequent listens. Of course, if you’re only playing one show and moving to the next town, that works out just fine.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), in a case of Notorious B.I.G.-like coincidences (album title foreshadows demise), you might never get to catch these cats in action as the majority of the band has since jumped ship. Shame, because there might’ve been something here one day and their overt Christian message truly does push them past a lot of bands that prefer to pander to a mainstream, secular audience and be “Christians” in name only (Side: I might not agree with the ideology, but I respect steadfastly sticking to your message). But, based solely on the music, there’s no real reason to check this out above similar purveyors of the same basic stuff. Kindly heed my groans and avoid the trap.