Killing Addiction are a well known death metal band from Florida that was formed in the late 80s. Their debut album was released on March 9th in 1993, and they have chosen this date to release the re-issue. ‘Omega Factor’ has been remastered and revamped and comes with a list of bonus tracks from their initial EP and demo. One listen and you can hear the influences that formed their sound, such as Carcass, Morbid Angel, Death and Napalm Death. The album launches into the old school death sound straight away on the title track Omega Factor. The sound is heavy and slow at first with a slight doom influence before picking up the pace. Pat Bailey’s vocals switch between a deep death growl and a higher, throatier scream that fits the music well despite being often hard to decipher. This song also shows off their grind and thrash influences particularly on the guitar solo.
With Equating The Trinity the band starts to establish their signature sound. A deep heavy grinding sound that is fast paced is framed by thrash style guitar work. The song has composition changes that keep it interesting and draws you in. This flows in well to track three, Nothing Remains, in which Bailey’s bass work shines. The notes are lower and the overall sound deeper with some fast paced drum work that really stands out. Musically they have hit their stride and the song sounds full formed. Dehumanised continues in this vein but adds a melodic element. Each song has a similar sound but with enough changes to keep things interesting and this track is not an exception.
Altered At Birth has a very 90s heavy metal sound that goes away from the death metal vein. In ‘93 this would have been an edgier and new sound, and it has withstood the test of time. This song really picks up the pace, causing the need to headbang and air drum along. The vocals are indecipherable still so no lyrical theme is apparent, but this gives the music a chance to really shine. With Necrosphere they bring back the death metal sound but they experiment with a rolling pace that switches time keeping back and forth to interesting effect. The guitar work of Chris Wicklein and Chad Bailey really comes into its own. Thrash style solos but with a deeper grittier edge that would have been new at the time, causing this to be the stand out track on the album.
We flow seamlessly into Global Freezing with a deep grinding pace that reminds me of early Carnivore. This is framed by the traditionally school death sound to great effect. The drums are starting to come to the fore on this track that ends suddenly and jarringly. Impaled starts up with a very interesting 3/4 sound that is very 90s. This would have been new and different at the time but sounds familiar, causing one to wonder if more famous 90s bands had heard this album when developing their styles. Drummer Chris York breaks out the blast beats to great effect, really sending this track into break neck speeds. This song then seems to stop only to start again with an entirely different sound. Wailing guitars reminiscent of a deep sweeping siren with a more scream style vocal line finish this song, though admittedly the second part being so different is a little jarring.
The rest of the album is rounded out with tracks from their 1991 debut EP and their 1990 demo. These have kept the less polished raw sound they originally had and they really showcase why this band initially gained attention. The original versions of Necrosphere and Covenant are pure death grind at its best. The sound is fuzzier and more DIY, but it is better for it. A personality that was stripped from the remaster emerges and it is good. The EP version of Impaled has an intro that sounds like an eerie into to a 70s horror film. The main part of the song sounds richer and heavier and the vocals have far more depth. One wonders why these elements were removed for the album proper as the original version is toothier and quite frankly, more brutal. An almost sci-fi style synth plays between the two different parts, and continues to show up through the second part of the song, and creates a slightly symphonic sound that is ahead of its time. Again one questions why these were removed.
The album is rounded out by the demo versions of Nothing Remains, Well Of Souls, Condemned and Necrosphere. A more old school early death metal sound stands out, with a far heavier sound. Whilst the quality of the recording is fuzzy and unclear, these songs have real teeth – you can see why they garnered the interest of fans and labels. It was clear the songs need to be cleaned up and polished to be released properly, but there is a feeling that this process went too far. Overall this re-release is quite an experience. It is a journey down memory lane to the beginning of the early 90s death metal scene in America. The songs flow well together and is a snapshot of the band when they were new but had started to really rock down their skills and sound. Definitely worth a listen to for fans of both the band and the genre.
You can pre-order Omega Factor, out March 9th via XTREEM MUSIC HERE!