Killer – “Monsters Of Rock”

killer
Killer – “Monsters Of Rock” (Mausoleum Records)

Belgium. Mausoleum. Killer. OMG. Putting their little country on the map of Europe during the NWOBHM came this trio formed by guitarist / vocalist Paul ‘Shorty’ Van Kamp and drummer Fat Leo! It wasn’t long before albums like “Ready For Hell”, “Wall Of Sound” and “Shock Waves” soon got the band a reputation for being the Belgian equivalent of Motorhead, not in the least because of Shorty’s gruff vocals, speed riffing and double bass drumming. Despite this, Killer were never a thrash band, instead very much rooted in heavy metal, although exploring all the avenues in its form from heavy rock to melodic metal and even blues based hard rock. Whatever their style, fans internationally had a taste for Killer and by the mid – 80s the band had played prestigious festivals, toured the whole of Europe, and sold albums from Tokyo to Rio de Janeiro and from Moscow to New York – a noteworthy climax being a tour of Poland in 1986 where Killer played to 10,000 eager fans each night! Despite a hiatus during the grungy 90s when Killer (by then a quartet) took a step back, Shorty still managed to release a solo album that ironically was still very much in the Killer vein! Managed by team that later went onto form cult label Mausoleum Records, it was no surprise when the band reformed to play the label’s 25th anniversary show, along with fellow Belgian metallers Ostrogoth and Crossfire. Since then the band have enjoyed a resurgence of interest, releasing albums culminating in this 35th anniversary seventh release that see’s no let up whatsoever in the band’s style. Clearly from the old school headbanger division, Shorty doesn’t just play heavy metal, he lives it! From his deep n raw guitar sound, amplified by his rough vocals, these days he’s joined by Jakke on guitar and Vanne on drums – but it’s definitely Killer all the way from the blistering ‘No Way Out’ to the power rocker of the ‘Firestorm’ to the sleazy blues rock of ‘Making Magic’. Best for me was the steaming anthem ‘Back To The Roots’, a singalong tribute to heavy metal, it’s bands and most of all fans, written from the heart by a guy who not only grew up to its sounds, but went on to be inspired himself to take up his own Flying V and form Belgium’s most cult of heavy metal bands. Fifteen tracks in all, “Monsters Of Rock” proves itself in every way, not in the least that a quarter of a century later Killer still rings bells (and shatters ear drums) in fans around the world!!!!

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