Swiss band KILL THE UNICORN was formed back in 2014, and from their base in Lucerne they have been exploring their own brand of self-described party music ever since. “Prism” is their debut album, and was self-released in October 2017.
I rather gather that the band’s description of their endeavors to belong inside a party music context to be rather tongue-in-cheek. Either that, or the kind of parties they attend are ones that will be on the weird side of eerie. This due to their brand of music, which I believe most would fine somewhere under the metalcore category.
The mix of metal and hardcore can come in many forms, and Kill The Unicorn belongs in the more expressive corners of this particular universe. Possibly with some indirect influence by bands such as Cynic in places. Their music is intense, and manage to combine the primitive with the elegant and even somewhat sophisticated in a manner that does demand attention from the listener.
Dark, massive riffs is a mainstay here, and a recurring element throughout are bouncy riffs of the kind I mostly associate with bands described as being djent. These are combined with sections that have more of a quirky and possibly even avant thrash metal sound and with passages of a more intense, basic and hardcore oriented expression. The band do know their atonalities well and aren’t all too afraid to use them, much the same goes for challenging escapades delivered with more of a mathematical precision. The hardcore passages are on what I’d describe as of the more extreme variety, or a few dimensions removed from the in comparison relatively gentle punk landscapes. Intense and at times frantic music, moving back and forth between the primitive and advanced. That the band at times will take a massive left turn to incorporate some jazz-oriented, gentler interludes, add some 8-bit video game sound effects or shift down to a slow, monumental sludge crawls says a bit about a band stretching out to beyond the confines of the metalcore box they find themselves described as belonging to.
The vocals are aggressive and intense too, alternating between angry shouts hardcore style and more theatrical growls extreme metal style. Sometimes delivered with an ease that doesn’t make it readily apparent which is which of them, which I note down as a mark of quality in my book at least.
While the album as a whole is very well put together and performance, mix and production all are of good quality, what I do not get from this album are any moments of magic. I’m not a big fan of this type of music as such I should admit, so it takes a bit extra for me to be impressed with albums of this particular type. As such, my main impression is that this is an album that most likely will have something of a niche appeal.
All in all I rather suspect that Kill The Unicorn’s debut album is one that will find it’s main audience among those already familiar and that tend to enjoy music described as metalcore. A taste for moments of oddness and quirky, challenging features will be a plus. Other than that, for those not familiar with metalcore as a style I’d suggest that those with an equal fondness for intense hardcore and extreme metal should be a suitable audience for this band and this album, and having a soft spot for bands such as Cynic probably won’t be amiss either.
My rating: 60/100
Motoko Kusanagi, Dreams in 56k, Ode to Spot, Wormhole to Gliese 556c, F.U.C.K.U.P., Me and my Velociraptor, Conquistador, Catacombs, Ausgefuchst, Rendezvous with Cleopatra VI, Pitch black VR