Album Review: IKILLYA – Recon

When a band is hailed as “NYC’s modern answer to Lamb Of God”, the interest of any metal fan is bound to be piqued. Unfortunately for IKILLYA, the band attributed to said assertion, the statement is somewhat misguided if latest album ‘Recon’ is anything to go by. That is not to say, however, that the album is a total disaster. After all, there are very few bands in the history of this genre who can truly state that they are on a par with Lamb Of God, given that the Virginia five-piece have made more of an impact, and gained more respect, than just about any of their peers over the last decade or so.

Ikillya Recon CoverAlthough IKILLYA may never come close to replicating LOG’s success and ‘Recon’ is littered with flaws, there are, nevertheless, some positives to take from the album. The technical abilities of the members of IKILLYA, for instance, cannot be called into question. Guitarist Dave Kerr is in fine fettle from start to finish, consistently proving that his talents rival those of far more established guitarists. The riffs on offer are varied in terms of style and always well-executed, ‘Razorblades’ perhaps being the finest illustration of this. He is also very skilled when it comes to soloing, as demonstrated on ‘Lifesblood’, which is also where the rhythm section particularly comes into its own, with bassist Mansa Gory and drummer Jeff Gretz forming a powerful alliance characterised by flair and vibrancy. Furthermore, vocalist Jason Lekberg is generally very impressive throughout. He struggles on a melodic level, as proven on ‘Razorblades’, but his screaming style, reminiscent of that of Byzantine’s Chris Ojeda, brings a welcome dimension of aggression to the fold.

Proficient musicianship, however, does not always necessarily translate into music that is interesting to listen to, and to a considerable extent, ‘Recon’ is proof of this. One of IKILLYA’s most apparent failings on this album, for example, is its alarming lack of diversity. Granted, there will be enthusiasts of this particular style of modern metal who like what they hear, but for those who look for an array of different ideas in an album, ‘Recon’ is somewhat disappointing. Moreover, throughout the album there is an unnerving sense of restraint, and IKILLYA’s overall sound is rather tame and subdued in comparison to that of the leading bands in this field. It is difficult to specify exactly why this is, but issues such as weak production and cringeworthy lyrics may be the cause, in addition to the aforementioned inability to deviate from one style. With all of these factors in mind, it is difficult to avoid arriving at the conclusion that ‘Recon’ is, to a degree, pointless. The likes of Lamb Of God, DevilDriver and Machine Head, all of whom IKILLYA have clearly been influenced by, have all proved that in order to successfully carve out a career as a metal band in the 21st century, a band must possess something that allows them to stick their heads above the parapet and stand out from the crowd. ‘Recon’ shows that, at this stage, IKILLYA do not really have any significant redeeming features. Their technical ability is their saving grace, though, and while they have this in their armoury, it would be wrong to rule out the possibility of IKILLYA releasing output of a better standard in the future.

Rating – 5


About JJPorter

JJ is a 20-year-old student hailing from Scotland, who lives and breathes music. His favourite genres include a variety of styles of metal, as well as hardcore, punk, and just about everything in between. Contact JJPorter on Twitter or via Email.

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