Style: Thrash Metal
Release Date: 12 Jul 2019
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Oh, this takes me back. Kilonova are a new band, playing interesting thrash out of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I've sunk a few pints there in my time, just not during the lifetimes of these band members, judging from their photo. They were formed as recently as 2017 and this is their debut EP, after a couple of singles, one of which is also present here.
I say interesting because the sound doesn't quite stay where I expected it to. Initially, kicking off with Descent / Straight to Hell, this is clearly old school thrash and not just because the EP sounds like it was produced in 1990. I heard a lot of stuff like this back then, whether live, on demos I'd picked up or in sessions on the Friday Rock Show. Kilonova would surely have competed in the Rock War, had they been together (and alive) back then and I think they'd have done well with Blood in the Water, their epic track here.
The most obvious diversion from old school thrash is the shouting voice of Ellen Hill. She looks like the sort of girl you could take home to see mum, albeit not in her stage attire, but she can scream and shout with the best of them and could easily land a job fronting a hardcore band. There's some early Exodus in her voice and it's pretty substantial, but she's able to seamlessly shift to other styles as needed.
The band don't always stay at high speed either, though they start out that way with Straight to Hell and Hang the Hangman, two blistering three minute tracks. It's the latter that slows down a little for the chorus to suggest an acute Toranaga influence. That's all the more overt on Own Enemy, which kicks off with a nice acoustic intro (and a very prominent bass underneath it from Joe Bambrick), finds a gloriously simple but effective riff which the band stubbornly and achingly refuses to speed up, and ends with some thoughtful intricacy.
Blood in the Water, at six and a half minutes, does some of the same but it mixes things up even more. Hill sings, shouts and screams; Bambrick gets another good prowling run; drummer Steve Rouse elevates proceedings with emphasis in the midsection and guitarist Jonny Sloan gets to show off in slow and fast parts. It's a very rounded song that ably showcases what this band can do.
The biggest problem this EP has is that, coming up on seventeen minutes, it only has one song left. Ivory Tower is another good one, with some ramped up sections, to bring us home truly energised. Kilonova tend to be described as thrash metal and they're certainly that but there's heavy and power metal in here too, across a variety of tracks, and they do all of it well.
I remember fondly a number of nothern bands from the late eighties whom I followed from their demos and saw live as often as I could: names like Metal Messiah, Catharsis, Darkened and others. None of them really made it big, an album and a Friday Rock Show session for the former being as close as they got, but they were always entertaining. I'd see Kilonova in the same bucket and, if I wasn't six thousand miles away now, I'd be checking the listings to see how far I need to travel to see them play next week. Bradford? Leeds? York?
Now, I can only hope that they outlast some of those bands and stay together long enough to put an album out! I'm looking forward to it because I want to see these guys develop.