Kill the Thrill


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By mixing styles as different as heavy metal, new wave, industrial, and alternative rock into their wide-open musical creations, France's Kill the Thrill have, intentionally or accidentally, managed to isolate themselves from all of the above scenes with an individualistic approach that has guaranteed them continued underground status in the process. This status is not likely to be changed by 2005's Tellurique, which, once again, proves too sparse for metal, too morbid for new wave, too humanized for industrial, and definitely too alternative for alternative rock, if that makes any sense. You can throw in any number of additional rock & roll subgenres and inspirational touchstones into this description, too, but in the simplest of terms, typical tracks like "A Little Salt for a Better Feeling," "An Indefinite Direction," and "Like Cement" comprise drawn-out, slowly evolving compositions sounding like Killing Joke (harsh shards of noise) or Joy Division (claustrophobic oppression) jamming with Nine Inch Nails (at their most ambient) or Isis (sweepingly panoramic), and, amazingly, Canadian prog/space metal institution Voivod. More so than the music, it's Nicolas Dick's deadpan vocal style (reminiscent of the ubiquitous Snake) that largely contributes to the latter comparison, yet progressive and space rock fans may also appreciate some of Kill the Thrill's more atmospheric creations, particularly "Body" and "The Finish." As for the heavy stuff, fourth track "Non Existence" finally picks up the pace to the beat of martial drums and churning guitar distortion (no doubt lowering many a confused metalheads' eyebrows) in preparation for the saxophone-laced (but still very heavy) "Diaphragme," and, just before the end, the truly nightmarish "Us and Them." Still, like fans of the other different musical styles cited above, Tellurique's strange creative pathways may prove too broad, or too vague, to make a connection with their limited tastes; co-signing the French trio to once again appeal to just a very small and selective, but open-minded, fan base.

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