The Killing Flame – Another Breath

The Killing Flame
Another Breath

There’s something about bands like this that appeal directly to a target audience. You have that fast-paced metal meets punk hardcore-style of rock with all those political posturing and a lot of energy. What you’re missing, however, is the emotion. In many ways, Another Breath reminds me of Boy Sets Fire’s The Day the Sun Went Out. Both clearly have some die-hard political positions, and both try to express them in a style of aggressive rock. The difference is, Boy Sets Fire pour their hearts out. It feels something to them. The Killing Flame fall into the pit that many punk and hardcore bands do. They go by the numbers.
How is this band going by the numbers? Let’s start with the “Here we go!” that kicks off “The Killing Flame.” I almost predicted every part of this song, except for the ending, which really gets me interested as the band starts belting out “Fuck your corporate punk rock image / Fuck your MTV!” Now they’re getting some passion.
Unfortunately, too many of these songs seem done by rote. “Flag Day,” for example, is all-out power chords and chorus-shouted vocals, but I’ve heard it all before, even the metal like: “We’re going to fuck you all! We’re going to kill you all!” There are moments when that style of aggressive punk is fun, like on “Bloodsucker” (“You’re a fucker/a bloodsucker”) and “American Refugee,” with its anthem-like lyrics and more purely rock guitar.
There’s usually a little something to take away the feeling that this is rehashed. Like on “Now That You’re Gone,” where echoed vocals and a very moody, slightly distorted section provide a nice break on an otherwise by-the-numbers punk song. And when they show more originality, The Killing Flame do what they do really well, probably the best of this style of punk/hardcore that I’ve heard since Shelter. In fact, this band in sound is much more like Shelter than Boy Sets Fire. Listen to the almost purely punk rock nature of “Shooting the Star,” a song that even has some melody to it. “Survival” probably has the best music of any song here, really powerful and not just straight-punk, except for the lyrics, which only work during the moody breakdown in the middle. And I swear, the singer is even singing more than shouting on “Consolation Prize.” But that’s another thing that makes this band better than most of the rest of its companions: you can understand the lyrics perfectly, even when they’re shouted, likely with much fist pumping.
The thing that’s important to remember about The Killing Flame is that their style of hardcore comes out of the Orange County, Calif. punk scene. So you’re going to get more of a punk/hardcore hybrid here than the typical in-your-face faux-metal hardcore sound that you might come to expect from Equal Vision. So if you like your punk mixed up with a more aggressive rock sound and filled with plenty of political stands and shouts out, you could do far worse than The Killing Flame.