Friday, January 8, 2016

Kill, Baby...Kill! "Corridor X" CD review

Review by Noel Squitieri, taken from
Corridor X is the title of the highly anticipated first full-length release by Kill, Baby… Kill! from Anniston, Alabama. Founded originally in 2005 and led by Noah Holt, the band’s current lineup are Erek Smith on Bass, Josh Jackson on Drums, Noah Holt on Guitar and Chris Eagle on Organ and sound samples. They’ve been included on a number of important comps since the 2011 release of their debut EP, Sometimes They Come Back. When Kill, Baby… Kill! played the songs from Sometimes They Come Back and more at the 2012 Instro Summit in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, they left everyone stunned by their power, precision and musicianship. KBK are a band to be reckoned with. What could they do to top that?

For anyone wondering if lightning strikes twice in the same place, it has this time and with a lot more force. This record will wreck your calm disposition and fill you with the need to play everything at full volume over and over, jumping around and playing your air guitar or drums. This is clear the floor of large objects before you play it music. The record infects the listener with its’ relentless driving beat, menacing melodies and powerful performances, and the occasional touch of macabre humor.

The songs:

Corridor X
Corridor X begins with one of the best 1:18 seconds of this kind of music I can remember. Screaming high-pitched feedback from Hell, like the grid just exploded while you are listening. Then drums pounding with a compelling beat full of menace, and then the music starts, fast and furious, distorted like it’s trying to melt your sound system. Corridor X. X means unknown. Going down a corridor to the unknown; who will dare to do it? In sci-fi and horror films, everyone does, to their doom and the entertainment of the audience. So we, the listeners, will also go down Corridor X, unable to resist the pull of the music. A low rumble, as if to indicate nothing is left outside the corridor you’ve been traveling that you want to meet, then a click like switching channels, and …

Occupation of the Body Snatchers
… just what you were afraid of. Something very bad has happened to the world while you were in Corridor X, and you can’t go back and you can’t stay where you are. You have to go on. What’s out there is the next piece of terrific music. Overlaying everything are the haunting strains of what sounds like the irresistible sirens of ancient sailing lore calling to you and a whispered voice warning of certain danger. Do not heed the warnings! Follow the siren call. You’ll be glad you did. This time. It’s only a record. Right?

Meltdown in Sector 9
Be warned! The previous 2 songs come in quietly compared to the nuclear blast of sound waiting for you at the start of this panic attack. This is run-for-your-lives music. It sounds like surf music of, by, and for the apocalypse. And while it incorporates traditional elements of surf music like growling de glissandos and diving chords, the overall effect doesn’t recall a pleasant day surfing. If it recalls anything about surfing it brings to mind being pounded after a bad wipeout off a giant wave and being held down under the roiling water overhead by a grinning zombie. Yeah, that happens a lot. It does in this musical vision of the future.

Hunting for the Dead
This really ought to be the music played on The Walking Dead during zombie chase scenes. The first song taken from the EP, Sometimes They Come back, it’s recreated here for the new record better played and better sounding. Was it a good idea to reimagine the songs from the EP on Corridor X? It is to me. I really enjoyed the raw energy and edginess of Sometimes They Comeback. Fun stuff! Now, after a lot of experience performing the material, KBK have taken what they’ve learned and recorded better versions. Kill, Baby… Kill! have your back. Apparently you can also kill zombies with very loud music.

Suppose the Doomsday Cults Were Right?
Also from Sometimes They Come Back, this song is the soundtrack to trying to escape the end of the world while you can. The song is played with a driving sense of urgency that infects, infuses, takes over and finally consumes everything played by Kill, Baby… Kill! Are you on the last escape vessel? Better be! Because when the end comes, it’s over. You’ll see.

Something on the Wing
Who’s Julia? That’s right. She’s my wife. What’s out there? No one can see it except me. Am I insane? I was then, but I’m not now! Must … stop it … … or we’ll all … … … die! Bob Wilson would understand. So does Rod Serling. Do you? It’s not psychotic paranoia if it’s real.

Love Theme for a Twisted Mind
Is your mind twisted? Don’t answer that. (They’re listening.) Well, okay, you’re listening to a fantastic musical journey through fear, loathing and terror. This is a furious two minutes 26 second roller-coaster ride of a song. You’re launched at full speed until you absolutely must have a break. Then, after being given a brief sonic respite to calm your nerves and ears, you’re launched through the gateway to Hell. Unfortunately there’s someone waiting for you when the ride is over. I get the feeling, though she may be incredibly beautiful, she isn’t a welcome sight. And she’s not alone. But you are.

Turn Your Insides Out
There’s something uneasily familiar about the opening piano introduction to Turn Your Insides Out. It immediately recalled to mind Tubular Bells from The Exorcist. It isn’t, but it triggered the memory of it, and of seeing the film. I remember sitting in a movie theater when The Exorcist was first released. The girls with us were huddling together for safety and hiding their eyes. At a particular moment of sustained perfect silence, I reached around and suddenly grabbed an arm. She screamed as loud as she could, and then every girl in the entire theater screamed as loud as they could. I love it when music does this; triggers a flood of memories, emotions or ideas. The rest of the song screams by under the influence of that memory. Oh, if you’re reading this, I SAID I was sorry. But I had a smile on my face when I said it then, and she didn’t believe me. I’m smiling right now too, remembering the experience again. May Turn Your Insides Out provoke a wonderful strange memory from your own youth.

Ant Invasion
I love the sci-fi classic film, Them! to this day. And so begins Ant Invasion. Much fun is had by the ants as they go on a feeding frenzy on … us! Musically-speaking of course. I recommend running around the room in pretend panic while listening to Ant Invasion, just to get in the spirit of the song. Just watch out for the giant stingers!

Trixion Twist
… is terrific! Pounding drums. Electrifying guitar playing. Sudden stops. Then a short respite from the frenzy of relentless music. Then, it’s back to the jump around in circles and try not to hurt anyone smashing into them music. And then it just stops. Suddenly. If you do too, you’ll probably fall down dizzy. Then you’ll know you got the full measure of enjoyment possible from this wild Trixion Twist.

Psycho Beach Party
“They shall all drown in lakes of blood. Now they will know why they are afraid of the dark. Now they will learn why they fear the night.” So says Thulsa Doom in Conan the Barbarian. So begins Psycho Beach Party. I confess I’ve never seen the film, Psycho Beach Party, which, by the way, I learned has a great surf music soundtrack. Some serious guitar shredding is included for added excitement in this diabolical surf psycho beach party music. Play this at a beach party and don’t be surprised if everyone goes all psycho on each other. Okay, they won’t, but don’t be surprised if everyone has a great time listening to it. This is terrific. Now … Run!

Duck & Cover
If you’re as old as I am, you remember the public service announcements that were shown in motion picture theaters, and broadcast on radio and television, about how to survive a nuclear attack. If you’re still running like I told you, you might be far enough away to survive the blast. If not, you have to duck and cover. Or you could just have a great time listening to this song. Nothing’s really going to happen after all. It’s only just a song, all in your imagination. Really. After listening to the musical version of the end of everything (You didn’t really think duck & cover would actually work, did you?) the sound of the blast wave dissipates and we’re left listening to an eerie melody from a child’s music box as it winds down. If Panic in Year Zero is one of your favorite movies, you’ll understand this song.

I’m having a wonderful time going along for the musical ride through my mind full of memories and images of many wonderful visual moments from my life. Hey, when you grow up watching Chiller Theater every Saturday night for two decades and then build a collection of hundreds of sci-fi and horror films from the fifties and sixties, there’s no way this music is just music. It’s a journey from the inner mind to the outer limits of the twilight zone of the imagination. With a sound-track.

This record is highly anticipated by anyone who’s heard of Kill, Baby… Kill! It exceeds my considerably high expectations. From the amazing opening of Corridor X to the evocative lonely sound of the music box at the end of Duck & Cover, this record is a musical horror sci-fi zombie apocalypse journey through places we can usually only go in movies, or nightmares. The playing is superb, the production is excellent. The music is compelling and exciting. It’s fun, energetic, fast and furious, and imaginative. It sounds wonderful. It touches all the right nerves and provides quite a ride. It far-away transcends the limits of any one sound of surf music by not being limited to or by them.

If I were to be launched by rocket into space, I’d want this playing! If I were fighting hordes of zombies, pod people or triffids, I’d want this playing! And, even if all I just wanted was something that is an awful lot of fun to listen to, I’d want this playing. It isn’t just music for the end of everything as we know it. … or is it?

This is what Kill, Baby… Kill!’s Noah Holt had to say:

Lots of people contributed to the success of Corridor X.

Chad Shivers was very integral to this record. While we had a producer credited on our previous EP, he really only offered moral support and name recognition. Chad came in with a good amount of notes and ideas, all of which were great ideas we wouldn't have thought of on our own. Even more, Chad is a VERY accomplished musician. There is no way I was going to leave that studio without utilizing his abilities on guitar to some extent. It was an honor and a privilege to have him involved.

Chad played any acoustic guitar you hear, including on Hunting for the Dead and Trioxin Twist. He laid down some guitar harmonies, but I cannot remember which tracks specifically. The mellotron was on Meltdown in Sector 9. Lastly, he did part of the piano track on Turn Your Insides Out. However, the intro piano part was our own Chris Eagle.

Sharron Von Hoene did the thereminish vocals on Occupation of the Body Snatchers.

Dan Dixon doubled the thereminish vocal part on Occupation of the Body Snatchers with a synth in order to thicken it up a bit.

Jamie Galatas provided the shredder guitar solo on Psycho Beach Party, and an amazing performance he provides, too!

I say, very, very well done, everyone! I hope you all enjoy Corridor X as much as I do. I think you will.

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