Generation Kill – MKUltra
Generation Kill is a five-piece Crossover Thrash Metal band formed in 2008 by Rob Dukes. He spent a decade with Exodus, one of the most heavily favored bands to fill a slot in an expanded Big 6 of Thrash. Heading out on his own, he brought in a series of musicians that have helped create a heavy sound that weaves through thrash, Hardcore, Speed, and Melodic metals. The current lineup recently shredded stages throughout the Midwest and Northeast United States with Dead By Wednesday and a lot of local talent bands at each stop, using their influence to help the next generation of metal.
- Rob Dukes –Vocals
- Jason Velez – Guitars
- Jason Trenczer – Guitars
- Max Velez – Bass
- Rob Youells – Drums
MKUltra was released via Art Is War Records on January 28, 2022. https://www.artiswarrecords.com
- Never Relent (feat. Gary Holt)
- Evil Eye (feat. Chris Poland)
- Into The Black
- Dogs Of War (feat. John Joseph)
- Opiate Of the Misinformed Masses
- Rat King
- Mold Of Clay (MKUltra 2)
- Life Of Sin
- La Fin Du Monde
The album opens with “Never Relent,” a heavy track that uses a melodic intro to lull you into a false sense of serenity, only to have that smashed with a crushing riff, bombastic rhythm, and fierce vocals. This track features Gary Holt of Exodus and Slayer fame. This track is, first and foremost, thrash metal. It is heavy, it’s angry, and there is no happy ending. What you do get is an exhortation to keep pushing forward, regardless of those who would stand in your way. The moral of this story is, “don’t let the bastards wear you down.”
The title track is next, and there is a more hardcore feel to the rhythm and guitar work. Even the vocals have that tinge to them. The sludgy breakdown in the middle is absolutely killer. The way they transition to the solo from the breakdown is a classic move, and it works very well in this song. The rapid-fire delivery of the lyrics gives the song an even more violent sense of urgency. You want to listen to this song when you need to vent some anger and have the music take the edge off.
“Evil Eye” has a killer, chugging riff and some excellent lead guitar work over it. The video for this one is built like a classic horror film, meant to instill terror and fear. This song could be on the soundtrack of a horror film, playing during one of the death scenes. It’s too intense for a stalking scene, so I’d use it in the background of a nice gory kill.
“Into The Black” is a heavy, rapid-fire tempo song with brutal lyric delivery. The grit in the voice is a perfect match for the content of the music. It’s much the same for most of the songs on this record. “Dogs of War” and “Opiate of the Misinformed Masses” are both heavy on social commentary, speaking about how the weak-minded are often misled and abused to further a cause.
Some of the video imagery is of the capital riots and the addiction to social media and technology. “Opiate” is more melodic and has a tone of despair, hinting that the mind is gone and the soul is lost. The bullying and groupthink that goes with social media fame can have devastating consequences when it turns on you. The guitar work is often delicate, making it much harsher when it gets shoved aside for a heavy section.
“Opiate” is my favorite song on this record because it is the most emotionally relatable. The composition is fantastic, ebbing and flowing with the tone of the lyrics and the amount of emotion going on in the mind. The vocals are everything from subdued to brutal, and the rhythm is the most well-balanced on the disc, in my opinion. The whole song is everything I like about heavy metal; it makes me think, feel, and question my preconceived ideas.
For some light-hearted fun, “Rat King” imagines a world where the rats win, and humans are eradicated. Just picture that for a moment. Humans disappear, and the rats rule the earth. You end up just being food; you lose. “Mold Of Clay” opens with spoken word and a heavy riff. The drums are superb on this track, using variable patterns and phrases to maximum effect. This is the track about making the perfect killing machine, turning “soldiers” into machines. The cult of personality is running the show here, molding the people into what he needs to rule the world.
“Life Of Sin” is another melodic song. I know it is hard to believe thrash can be melodic, but here it is. The lead guitar work is stunning, giving a lot of extra tone to the track. Those leads are scattered throughout the album, but sometimes they stand out a little more than others. Great bands use these things to accentuate the compositions to the best effect, making the song feel a little bigger, better than it would be without the flair.
Wrapping the disc is “La Fin Du Monde,” translated from French to be “the end of the world.” This one opens with a piano before the guitar comes chugging in. After a quick dose of Dukes, the rhythm fires off, shattering the calm the intro provided. The shifts from heavy to melodic are elegant and so very well executed. If “Opiate Of The Misinformed Masses” had not already grabbed my brain, this would easily be the favored track. Songs that go from one style to another get my blood pumping.
Generation Kill is one of those bands I had heard of but had not really dug into. After seeing them live, I knew I had to correct that, and I am so glad I did. This is a band that I wish I had found earlier. I feel their lyrics, which I consider one of the primary markings of an excellent band. I relate to the words, get lost in the melodies, and love the heaviest parts of their songs. Make no mistake; I will be digging much deeper into this band in the near future.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 9
- Songwriting – 10
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.20