"Kiss Is Kill" (Self-released; 2024)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Kiss is Kill's self-titled album is a stunningly impressive collection of synthwave/electronic/hard rock/metal songs in the style of, say, Gary Neuman and Orgy.

Most of the tracks are epic, wall-to-wall soundtracks with driving sci-fi beats, slashing guitars and pristine production. Vocalist James Chapple (who also does virtually everything else here) lends a perfect tone throughout, avoiding the soulless robot vocals that kill other projects of this kind. The music swirls around in your head like a plastic grocery bag caught in a strong breeze as you listen (headphones recommended), each track taking you on a different auditory adventure.

I can imagine any of these tracks in a big-budget action/adventure film. Not a single track feels out of place, which makes it difficult to choose a favorite, though I'm leaning toward "IDGAF," which, if you can't decipher the initialism, the band makes perfectly clear.

It should be noted that I am a huge fan of synthwave movie scores and certain electronica/metal hybrids. If you're more of the meat and potatoes (guitars and drums) kind of person, "Kiss is Kill" may not be for you. I'd recommend you give it a try anyway.

As mentioned above, Kiss is Kill is basically James Chapple but contributing artists include:
Jeff Tolbert - guitar and bass
Pete Crossman - synths, programming and mixing on “100%” and “Childe”
Sebastian Komor - synths, programming, guitars and mixing on “Progress”
Jameson Elliott - guitar and bass on “IDGAF”
Angel Calvo - guitar on “How Can I Let You Know?” and “Matter of Time”

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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