Killers By Trade – In Secrecy Silence And Darkness

“That my mind might conceive…

From the moment I became a Mason, I was inspired. The extent to which I did not understand until symbols of my degrees started dominating my lyrics. After ‘A Rough and Rugged Road’ I realized I have a Masonic Metal album. It may seem that the Craft and Metal are contradictory, but our stations in Masonry are as intense and cathartic as any Metal song! Metal, though coarse, has depth, just as Light in Masonry is balanced by Darkness. One will not learn the secrets of Freemasonry from this album. What one will find is good Metal and an insight into one man’s Gnothi. My Brothers may find contemplation on the ancient symbols and a mirror of their own experiences through a modern prism.” -Clint Love

So say the liner notes of ‘In Secrecy Silence And Darkness’. Freemasonry is, understandably, not the most popular lyrical and conceptual topic of popular music. It’s a rather esoteric topic to be tackling, obviously; additionally, it’s not something that many people are going to be able to relate to normally. On top of that, there is still a sort of bizarre paranoia and fear of Masonry in the public consciousness, which makes making music about Masonry, and especially admitting to being a Mason making music, a rather strange choice. Tackling such a subject, though, is one of the things that attracts me to Killers By Trade. It shows an extra dose of thoughtfulness on the part of creator Clint Love, that he’s not afraid to show a controversial side of his personality and worldview, but also that he wants to create art that is original, engaging, and an interesting view into a world that many of us are inexperienced with.

Of course, conceptual intelligence can only take an album so far. After all, it’s about the music combined with the ideology and aesthetic, not just one of those factors alone. Unlike many other bands that are great in the last two features but not in the first, Killers By Trade combines all three into a very good, well crafted package that I can listen to again and again. Many bands play heavy metal in a rock format; Killers By Trade does just the opposite, with bar rock overdriven and distorted into a propulsive heavy metal mold, like a goth-edged Motörhead playing in the local Lodge. Riffs are rock-based, but massively amped up in speed and aggression, aided by a pounding, obviously synthetic drum machine ala Ministry which constantly pushes forward with thundering double bass and cymbal fills. There’s lots of tremolo riffing, though, as previously stated, the melodies are rock based, and they’re generally supported by an additional lead guitar line that adds a great deal to the music. Vocals are like a cleaner Lemmy, and yet I don’t feel that they would improve with any added roughness: they seem fine as they are, and I don’t find the vocal melodies cloying.

Killers By Trade is the first band in a very long time that I’ve actually been interested in the lyrics of. There’s a logical, steady aesthetic on an interesting subject, and it’s something I would love to see explored more. And unlike other bands with such precise concepts, this is actually one that I feel has a strong connection between music and concept, unlike other bands where a concept is hastily slapped over existing music. All aspects of Killers By Trade go hand in hand, and that’s something I can definitely appreciate. There is no music without the concept, and no concept without the music: they’re inextricably intertwined, and that’s a daring and difficult thing to do. Many bands would fail at such an objective, but Killers By Trade keeps it honest and true to both metal and Masonry in every way.

Some may shy away from the rock-based leanings of this EP. Don’t. This is a very good piece of music regardless of what genre it belongs to. I highly recommend metalheads of all stripes give this a listen: it’s underground, it’s original, and most of all, it’s great music through and through.

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~ by noktorn on September 12, 2007.

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