Release DetailsLABEL Bifocal Media
RELEASED ON 7/17/2003
Death Metal Is For Pussies!
posted on 3/2004 By:
The Kickass is simultaneously an audacious and self-depreciating band; proven by the fact that while they named themselves The Kickass (not to mention the fact that they titled their album Death Metal is for Pussies) and play an extremely technical blend of hardcore, metal, and progressive rock, their album cover shows the three (male) members wearing pink belly shirts with matching pink underwear. It's quite a bold and impudent gesture to name a band The Kickass. It’s far worse for a band called The Kickass to not, in fact, kick ass, than a band with any other name. In this case, The Kickass does indeed kick ass in some departments, but in others, they fall flat.
The best aspects of The Kickass are their musicianship and parts of the songwriting, though other parts are rather lacking. To me, playing ultra technical music is a very limiting endeavor, especially when excessively difficult musicianship takes priority over emotional content, but The Kickass isn’t joking around with their technical prowess. They can play circles around many other musicians in general, and certainly around the vast majority of other groups in the metalcore genre. There are time changes galore, and considering the instrumental nature of their music, nearly every melody is driven by a lead guitar part, not to mention unique bass lines and oddly precise drumming. The strong moments in their songwriting are far too sparsely placed to make up for the slightly boring remainder, but when they do show up, they provide some thoroughly enjoyable and even occasionally moving music. With songs often spanning seven or more minutes, having a greater wealth of moving content could really have done wonders for the album.
The biggest problems with Death Metal is for Pussies are its inconsistency and lack of cohesion. The songs spend too much time on sections that display only strong musicianship and not strong songwriting, which really is a shame. For fans who care more about technical prowess than catchiness, this probably won’t be a problem, but I feel that technical instrumental bands have to do something to keep their music interesting and appealing, and impressive playing isn’t quite enough on its own. The different sections in the rather lengthy songs don’t flow together very well on this album, either. I’ve heard Opeth criticized for using a “cut and paste” method of songwriting, but they’ve got that method fine-tuned so well that their transitions sound extremely natural. The Kickass is quite the opposite. They literally could have recorded each short part and pieced them together using some computer program and it would’ve been no less cohesive than the album is. It’s like there’s no logical reason for having the songs progress as they do, and that adds quite an unpleasant element to the music.
The production is a mixed bag as well. It’s certainly not bad, everything is mixed well and easy to pick out, but it could stand to be a little more lush and less harsh and crisp on many occasions. I believe that it was produced as it was because they wanted simply to highlight their spectacular musicianship, and with that purpose in mind, they’ve succeeded.
Death Metal is for Pussies is a mediocre album overall, made by extremely above average musicians. If sheer technical ability means more to you than strong/emotive songwriting, by all means check this record out. If you, like me, think that songwriting is the be all end all, and excessive musical skill is unnecessary (though sometimes advantageous), I can’t really say that I’d bother with this album. Still, I think the best that can be said for it is that the musicians achieved what they wanted with it, a technically impressive album with quirky imagery; it’s just not really my bag.
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