I See Good Spirits and I See Bad Spirits- My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult

Release Year: 1988

Rating: 8/10

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult are an industrial, funk, metal, whatever they feel like band based out of Chicago, who have been around since the late 80’s. If you like Ministry or Skinny Puppy, then you should probably check out this band. Their debut album introduces the music world to their oddball, grooving music that manages to freak you out and get your booty shaking at the same time.

The album opens with the creepy instrumental “Hersey.” There are lots of different sounds going on that makes the music constantly change tone. For most of the song, the sound is creepy with tribal like drums and booming percussion in the background that sounds like a thunderstorm. Mid-way through the song, the music changes. It suddenly sounds mystical with tinkling music, though the thunder is still going on. By the end, jarring guitars come in and strike every other note to provide a shocking sound. It’s a pretty good track, but you have to be in the right mood to listen to it.

Things pick up with the groovy track “X-Communication.” There are a lot of samples from news reports and movies, a-la Rob Zombie, that play alongside the weird distorted vocals that sounds like Satan luring you through your stereo. This is the type of song that will scare your parents if they ever hear it. It just sounds freaky and demonic, but it’ll still get you moving. Another great track and one of my favorites is “Do You Fear for Your Child.” Again, it has a great beat and rhythm that makes you want to get up and dance. This is another creepy song that has more samples, random screaming, and dark lyrics and music to unsettle you.

All the songs are great and basically have the same elements: distorted vocals, ominous lyrics, and various samples. But what makes each song unique is they each have their own musical style. “Easy Girl” starts out like the other songs, but then separates itself by having a trumpet playing that gives it a Jazz feeling. “These Remains” has more of an exotic tone with the airy flute playing and the riff that sounds like it’s being played by a sitar. “Gateway to Hell” is a straight up industrial track with heavy percussion and fast, whining guitars. The varying musical styles is what the band became known for. Their albums never sound alike because one will be heavy and hard while the next is inspired by swing music. You never know what to expect from Thrill Kill Kult.

As mentioned before, TKK uses a lot of samples in their music, which is reminiscent of Ministry and White/Rob Zombie. In fact, the samples usually make up the majority of the songs. The way the samples are pieced together with the music and other clips really makes the songs unique. It never gets tiring or dull. It also adds more of a creepy edge to the music. The clips often reference drugs, religion, Satan, and sex. Most of the lyrics are basically these clips repeated throughout the song, but again the band manages to keep things interesting.

TKK’s music also has a great groove running through it. It’s not necessarily one element of the music that provides the groove, rather it’s how everything is pieced together. Sometimes the music will have electronic beats and synth that gets your head bobbing. It may not be as apparent on this album, but on their later work it’s clear to see that this band wants you to dance.

Overall, the album gets 8/10. Even though the instrumentals are take them or leave them, the songs are still awesome. They manage to unnerve you with the ominous music and distorted vocals, while getting you to dance at the same time. Though the album is mainly inspired by industrial music, there are different genres strewn throughout their songs. This is an unpredictable band that can’t be held back with labels.

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