Kevlar – The Deadly Dozen

The Deadly Dozen

Earlier in 2000, I reviewed a band called Dewey Defeats Truman. Now DDT had an ability to find those nice solid rhythm guitar sounds with that raspy distortion, but had some significant vocal limitations (mostly due to the very average/normal sound of the singing). Kevlar shares these same strengths and limitations.
While Kevlar has a great ear for the guitar lick and strong, moving rock-punk foundation, they too lack the sound of a unique vocalist. In fact, it is the same kind of pseudo-punk singing you’ve heard a thousand times. Now, this isn’t “bad” necessarily. It isn’t really “hard on the ears.” I mean the guy can hit a note. It is just too average though.
However, the singing doesn’t steal from the band’s overall tightness and sound. ‘Cuz they sound great. And the songs on this release, all of which are wonderful except the silly “Serial Kill,” really prove that these guys have the talent to bring something fresh and warm to the odd-sonic-guitar genre.
“The Paramount” opens as a well-textured instrumental with smoothly distorted guitars. “Customers and Buyers” and the “Enemy’s Last Retreat” both have fabulously unique guitar work that bring back memories of the ol’ “Sister” Sonic Youth days. The vocals remain kind of a shame in the overall scope of things – yet, the lyrics are of high quality and interesting. “Revenge Mode” finishes things up on this short album with a Superchunk-esque grind. There are times when the music seems to come to a halt, only to reload and assault you again.
With some work on the vocal side of things, this band could be a factor in the future. I simply recommend turning down the melodrama or asking the singer to quit over-emphasizing his lines. In essence, he should just forget about singing “so hard” and focus on a more subtle delivery. That’s how I felt at least.
Still, as I mentioned above, the guitar work and overall talent and visionary instrumentation is up there with the very best in the genre.