Released: 2006, Mausoleum Records
Killing Machine is a band that, for all intents purposes should blow everyone’s socks off. Just look at the line-up, Juan Garcia (Agent Steel), James Rivera (Helstar, ex-Seven Witches etc.), Dave Ellefson (ex-Megadeth), and Peter Scheithauer (Belladona, Temple of Brutality). Yes, I know there’s already a few groans at the site of former Megadeth members, especially ones that helped run that band into the ground… but hold your groans for now. While this is the second album under the name Killing Machine, only Peter played on the first album. Somehow, Peter was able to put this, near, supergroup together for this second Killing Machine album and release the sophomore album, METALMORPHOSIS.
Where does Killing Machine sit on the metal scale? Well, Judas Priest circa PAINKILLER would be the #1 influence for sure. Hell, James Rivera even puts on his best Halford impersonation for the opening track. To say this is unlike James’ prior band, Seven Witches, would be lying, hell, this album would fit as a continuation of their PASSAGE TO THE OTHER SIDE album. This is traditional metal with speed and thrash metal tendencies. The production is solid; if a bit more on the digital sounding side, though thankfully not all THAT modern sounding.
Opening with “Killing Machine” the Priest-like tendencies are shown off right from the beginning, strong shades of “Painkiller” resonate through the opening guitar/drum interplay and don’t let up when James comes in screaming. There’s no doubt who Killing Machine are aiming to sound like from the get go. Track 2, “Loup Garou” (don’t get me started on that title, even though it’s a good lyrical subject), is of the more mid-paced variety, hitting a chunky groove and sticking without through most of the track. The song is incredibly straightforward so any kind of analysis wouldn’t do anyone much good. “Scarred Beyond the Black” is where it starts to become known that Killing Machine don’t have many tricks up their sleeve, seeing as it’s based around the same pace and riffing as “Loup Garou” just with a different styled chorus that involves James using lots of different tracks and rather insane sounding scream/screech.
From here on out, redundant would be an understatement. Things become terribly recycled, most of the riffs and pacing is exactly the same and you know you’ve heard it all before. Then when a song like “In for the Kill” actually does something fun and interesting (if not original) it’s killed by this really anti-climactic chorus that could have really opened the song up into a real metal anthem. That lone song being the lonely bright spot after the second track as it’s all the same, at least when Judas Priest did it on PAINKILLER each song was strong enough to stand on its own, even if much of the material worked within the exact same framework. Here the songs just aren’t strong enough to do that, I mean, if the songs were strong enough I could ignore the fact it’s been done before a million times, I mean, I’ve done that with Metal Inquisitor who are rehashing some riffs for the hundredth time, but they have enough spirit, energy, and songs to make up for it.
Killing Machine may have all the talent you need to make a great album, they haven’t done it. It’s more proof that no matter who plays on an album, it doesn’t guarantee a good album or even song.