Kill RPNZL (aka Kill Rapunzel) are a grungey three piece from sunny Kent. They took the vowels out because fuck Rapunzel. They’re smashing up Homespun on the 25th July and appear to be playing in the French countryside with Wo Fat (Wu Tang tribute?) on the 7th August. Their new EP, entitled “Fear itself” is due for release on the 22nd June on Skingasm Records (a label currently central to the Medway noise movement). It was recorded by local genius Greg Webster at his Sunlight Studios, which, in this reviewer’s humble (and right) opinion, was a good move. Greg has a knack for bringing out the subtleties in individual instruments without detracting from the overall mix, most noticeably in the guitar tracks on Fear Itself. They walk a fine line between balls-in-your-mouth all out distortion and clear, completely audible smoothness. (I just invented the phrase balls-in-your-mouth, use it wherever and whenever you wish just make sure the hyphens are in there) Seriously the guitars sound fucking pretty.
The ep kicks off with Soviet Youths, which starts with a jangly bit of chord work before busting into a punk-infused fuzztastic orgy of Placebo-esque vocals and 3 chord goodness, with a Ramones tinged bridge (I think it’s a bridge?) that makes me wanna shave my head and fight someone (in a good way). The solo sounds like the furious undercurrents of the muddy river Medway, dragging you down to the filthy riverbed and trapping you there under a trolley.
The next track is Duo, which starts as noisy and in your face as you could hope for, and kind of sounds like you’re logging into AOL circa 1997. The lairy lead guitar part comes and goes like the villain in that nightmare you’re trying to forget but can’t, because he’s probably in your wardrobe right now. The vocals in this track are powerful, snarling at you from behind a wall of noise. The only criticism I can find with the whole EP is that occasionally the vocals play second fiddle to the riffs, though this seems intentional due to the slickness of the mix, it’s sometimes audible here as that dirty beast of a lead riff comes and goes.
Delusions of grandeur steps Fear Itself up a notch, jumping from thrashy glorious punk, laced like patchwork by a piece of lead guitar straight out of the Mars Volta’s back catalogue and into a chorus from hell. The drumming from Ollie is frantic and drives the track like a smack-fiend on a Harley (in a good way). Frontman Arron’s previous forays into synthesised electro-pop seem to have had influence on the direction of some of these songs; here and there some of the lead guitar parts sound like he’s taken riffs he used to play on a synth and smashed them out on an overdriven as fuck guitar, to great effect.
Next up we have X Y, which is probably one of the strongest tracks on the EP (it’s hard to pick a favourite). It’s a well polished rock n roll track, carried by a groove from Elle on Bass and the previously mentioned Ollie Crook on drums, layered guitar tracks, and the kind of scream that makes teenage girls go out and buy vibrators (or earplugs)((or both?)).
Alienate to Relate is a more straight ahead punk song, a riffy deluge of screaming and fast paced drumming that goes from punk to jazz and back again like it’s nothing. One of the most impressive aspects of Fear Itself is the arrangement, the layers of guitars and jumping sections make these songs feel like they might once have been simple pop songs, stretched and distorted by passionate hedonism into a cacophony of noise and expression. It’s like art but better.
The EP ends with Paralysed From The Waist Up. That clear and audible yet still grungey as a shotgun to the face guitar sound is in its element here, with a riff that fills the tons of space left by that beast of a rhythm section (Ollie and Elle, fucking hell)((I meant to credit them but couldn’t resist making a little rhyme). And so one of the finest EP’s I’ve listened to for many a year comes to a close the same way it starts, in your fucking face.
To conclude, Kill RPNZL; buy their EP ‘Fear Itself’ when it comes out on the 22nd of June, go see them at Homespun on the 25th July (or in the French countryside on the 7th August, oo la la). This EP is fucking brilliant, and they are a sick live band, so go and see them. Don’t take my word for it.
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