Okay, okay...it's K.O.Kaine!
Formed in the summer of 2003, K.O.Kaine is a 4-piece band on a mission. Their remit of fusing musical styles is hardly an original initiative but it is one that is notoriously difficult to accomplish with aplomb. Purporting to amalgamate 80s hard rock, industrial metal and glam sounds like an atrocious idea at first glance but if you ponder for a second, you can see it makes perfect sense. While industrial output is high on thrust, it lacks the accessibility and groove of 80s rock - and if you throw in the pomp and zealous splendour of glam, you've got what, on paper at least, should be a perfect permutation of the three. Does this sound bad to anyone else? Do I really want to hear Gary Glitter sing 'Replica' by Fear Factory, while Eddie Van Halen indulges in a spot of finger-tapping in the background? Of course not. But such theories have to be tested after all. "Nothing will come of nothing" as Shakespeare once wrote. So I guess the first question that you guys and gals will be wanting an answer to is: Does it work on record? I ain't got a clue. I was too busy moshing around my bedroom like an epileptic ferret to think about it. So...in retrospect, I guess the answer should be yes. Once thing is for sure though: This record rocks.
'After Glow' is a great, great start. From the opening lyrics: "Tune in/To drop dead", the crashing drums and ultra heavy riffs, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this was standard industrial fare. However, add in an unbelievably catchy bassline (think RATM), and an undulating, rhythmical chorus and you've got a beast of a song, one that permeates its way into your inner ear like one of those giant slug creatures in 'Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Kahn'. And the sucker will probably beat the shit out of your malleus, incus and stapes on its way to suck out your brain.
Ad Phillips's voice is just about coarse enough to ram the dystopian lyrics through the rockier segments (there's pale shades of Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder in there somewhere) but is also versatile enough to instil palpable emotion into the rare moments of relative tranquillity. 'Bright Lights' (apparently written about exploitation in the adult movie scene) is a prime example. Although the track remains dominated by Mik Crones's crushing riffs and Matt Larkin's smash-and-grab drumming; Phillips injects a great deal of solemnity and pathos into proceedings. On the entire record, the mix and production are uniformly excellent, but on 'Bright Lights' in particular, the guitars swish between the no-bullshit-no-compromise heaviness of Machine Head and Biohazard while also retaining a melodic sensibility reminiscent of Kerbdog and Foo Fighters.
If we head back to K.O.Kaine's postmodernist theory again, title track 'Accelerator' throws some classic G 'n' R guitar licks into the industrial metal blasts and Phillips even has some hard rock-inspired lyrical fun: "Dance, let's dance/I wanna see you move/Dance, let's dance/I wanna see you shake".
Elsewhere, 'Johnny' is almost pure-Aerosmith, even down to the sleaze-ridden lyrics but again, the monolithic riffs keep things just the right side of poodle-rock-cheese, while the first half 'A&E' provides the listener a welcome return path to industrial territory - especially as it's based on the true story of a fatal stabbing - before taking time out with a Soundgarden-inflected waltz.
Almost seamlessly, the melodic and somewhat contemplative 'New Flesh''s lurches into the record's closer. Blending synthesisers and samples enter into K.O.Kaine's sound to create an almost future-noir set-piece, (think what would happen if Vangelis and Fear Factory collaborated and you're pretty damn close), 'The Cut' is a fine showcase for the progressive ideological and music path that K.O.Kaine appear intent on following.
I ain't got a clue if K.O.Kaine has created a wildly original record, one that exemplifies and authenticates their post-modern genre-splicing theory as theorem. However, 'Accelerator' is a great heavy metal record that possesses an awareness of its time and accessibility that even some the true greats (I'm thinking Sepultura, Pantera and Fear Factory here) can sometimes lack. While it may not satisfy the die-hard pure-grown industrial metalists among you, I guarantee that at the very least, it'll get you moshing on the bus. Awesome fun.