5×5 Songwriters Showcase comes to Villain and Saint in Bethesda, MD on August 23, 2019. This round of talented songwriters features Elena Lacayo, Mike and Mel Hamilton, Master Sword, Petty Indulgences, and Jason Mendelson.
by Logan Deiner
On June 21st, Alchemical Records and Transcendent Events will be presenting a show at the Angel Rock Bar in Baltimore. Several bands are expected to be there, but Thrillkiller has now been the first band to officially confirm attendance. Thrillkiller believes that the Angel Rock Bar “is one of the funnest establishments in Baltimore to say the least” and have even used the bar as a filming location for a music video, making it an integral part of their deep, rich canon. Thrillkiller were also excited to announce an all new lineup, even debuting all new, never before heard music. According to the band,“ we have refined and retooled every single part of our setlist, and it will almost be like you are listening to an entirely different band.”
Thrillkiller is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Rob Bradley, who prior to Thrillkiller started a band named “Ares,” which took several influences from 80s metal and even played with metal giants Symphony X and Metal Church. He abandoned the project shortly afterwards, with his reason being “these days, if i want to listen to 80s metal, I’ll just listen to metal from the 80s.” He then moved on to Thrillkiller, with a revolving door of different lineup changes over the years. Also in the current lineup are Sebastian Ochoa and Derrin Ruschell on guitar, Daniel Tipton on drums, and Brendan McGlathery on bass.
Over the course of their debut album Showdown, as well as the subsequent EP and singles, they have more or less stayed true to their 80s metal roots, but have also implemented a variety of different inspirations and flirted with several genres alongside, even funk and 80s synth pop. Even within their own album, it is pretty difficult to find any major sound, going as far as to have a saxophone solo in the title track. The band as a whole takes a lot of pride in their ability to be adventurous and include various types of music. That said, they never feel inconsistent, and the songs always flow smoothly and coherently from track to track, adding to the overall experience. In short, Thrillkiller is like a giant slice of the 1980s for the 21st century, all the while reinventing the bands that influenced them and helped to sculpt the final product.
Another item to note are their music videos. The videos look almost like a short 80s B-movie, with all the 80s cheese you could ever ask for from a band like this, along with a deep canon and rich storyline that is difficult not to get invested in. These videos often make references to classic horror movies, with a bad guy based off of Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford, and 80s sci-fi and action movies such as Back to the Future and The Terminator. There are even classic video games of the 8 and 16 bit eras, including one video where the band was fighting time cops with an NES Power Glove that was spray painted gold. Rob even went on record as saying there was a “surprising amount of influence” from the soundtracks of old video games in their debut album, especially the arcade beat ‘em up Final Fight. The style of the videos is something akin to a Michael Jackson short movie, with a WWE-like canon and story.
As a band, Thrillkiller is able to satisfy an itch that many retro purists feel needed to be scratched. While many nostalgia fueled bands are able to successfully capture the 1980s in a musical sense, Thrillkiller is able to take it one step further by fully immersing themselves in the action packed world of the 80s, on both a musical and visual front. As Rob said earlier though, there are many fantastic bands from that decade that are now more easy to listen to than ever because of ease of access in the internet age. That is why Thrillkiller is always making a conscious effort to sound fresh and new, and to be an homage to the 80s, not just a carbon copy. The band has assured Alchemical Records that they will bring their A game to the Angel Rock Bar in Baltimore on June 21st. Considering the quality of their past material, it will no doubt be a show that fans won’t want to miss.
Logan Deiner is a writer and journalists who enjoys hanging out with friends and listening to music in his spare time. He enjoys most genres of music, and has a vinyl collection of over 500 records.