Killer – Volume One: The Mausoleum Years-1981-1990
Label: Cherry Red
Reviewed: March, 2019
Reviewed by: JP
The fine folks at Cherry Red are really capturing a good part of the nostalgia market with these cool reissues and little box-sets. I for one an extremely grateful! The next long-forgotten band to get attention is Belgium’s Killer.
I say, long forgotten but that is a bit of misleading statement. Killer made some good waves in the 1980’s with a string of four solid albums and then went on hiatus. 13 years later they put out another couple of albums and then another decade long break until 2015 with the release of MONSTERS OF ROCK. I’m not sure if the two events are related but it makes sense with the timing that Killer is sort of active and the arrival of this cool 4 CD box-set.
KILLER-VOLUME ONE-THE MAUSOLEUM YEARS 1981-1990 is a very cool collection and the Volume One title gives up hope that perhaps there will be a Volume Two? In the interest of time, I’m not going to doing an extensive and analytical reviews of all four albums contained within. If you are reading this, you probably know who Killer is and if not this box is recommended to serve as an introduction to the band.
This eye-catching yellow-themed clamshell box-set houses four wallet sleeves, one for each album obviously and includes a 16-page, full-colour booklet. The albums in question are READY FOR HELL (1981), WALL OF SOUND (1982), SHOCK WAVES (1984) and lastly, FATAL ATTRACTION (1990). All of these titles have been issued and reissued a number of times and are not exceedingly rare but it is really nice to have them in one place. As is often the case with these great sets, these CD’s replace my beat-up cassettes very nicely! The booklet has lots of pictures, liner notes and a nice essay from the esteemed Malcolm Dome.
So who were Killer? They were arguably Belgium’s most well-known Metal band in the 80’s. They had good distribution and it was fairly easy at the time to find some of those early albums. They were well-regarded, if somewhat unoriginal, following on the heels of the NWOBHM. You can tell how old a band is by it’s name, because if have a simple name like Killer and are the first to call yourself that, you have been around a long time! I won’t go into the entire history, Malcolm Dome covers that nicely in the liner notes.
The uniquely named power-trio, Spooky, Shorty and Double Bear churned out the three competent albums before a hiatus, then expanding to a quartet and doing the one last album without drummer Double Bear. The debut is a solid slab of Metal representative of the time. The next two are considered by many, myself included the pair of classic Killer albums. FATAL ATTRACTION went in a slightly more slick and polished direction, while not unenjoyable, they were competing with a host of high-flying acts and by that time were maybe sounding a bit dated, but before being ‘dated’ meant in later years an attractive feature, a good classic, nostalgic sound. There are nine bonus tracks, some live stuff, some rare stuff all real treats for the long-time fans.
There were many, many mid-level bands coming out of Europe in he massive global Metal explosion in the mid-80’s and Killer fits right along side such acts as Black Out, Spartan Warrior, Witch Cross, Dark Heart, Jaguar, Mad Max, Maltese Falcon, Warhead, Cutty Sark, Witchfynde, Faithful Breath and so on…a surprising number of them found homes on labels Roadrunner or Mausoleum. If you are familiar with any of these old bands, this gives you an idea sonically where Killer is situated.
For Killer fans, what more could you ask? This compact set is a great introduction to the band or re-introduction that preserves a nice little slice of Belgium long Metal history.