When two ex-members of the '90s hardcore/metalcore crew Turmoil decided to form a new band in 2001, the result was the Kiss of Death. Those two former Turmoil members are singer Jon Gula and guitarist Jeff Hydro, both of whom are from eastern Pennsylvania and are highly regarded in hardcore circles. Turmoil, which was formed in 1992, enjoyed a very enthusiastic and passionate cult following in the hardcore scene; many of their fans will argue that they were among the best hardcore/metalcore bands that the East Coast had to offer in the '90s. But despite Turmoil's popularity, Gula and Hydro felt that it was time to move on -- and when they decided to form a new band, the idea was to travel in a different direction musically. In order to accomplish that, they recruited three more Pennsylvanians: drummer Chris Frey (formerly of the band Dragon Green), guitarist John Gardner (an ex-member of Sever the Fallen) and bassist Jimmy Dorward. With that Gula/Hydro/Frey/Gardner/Dorward lineup in place, the Kiss of Death made it clear that they were far from a carbon copy of Turmoil. Both Turmoil and the Kiss of Death are brutally metallic -- neither will be mistaken for easy listening anytime soon -- but while Turmoil (whose early influences included the Cro-Mags, Sick of It All and Agnostic Front) was strictly aimed at the hardcore/metalcore crowd, the Kiss of Death is much more mindful of stoner rock, doom metal and sludge metal. The Kiss of Death favors a lot of Black Sabbath-minded riffs (which are quite common in the stoner/doom/sludge world), and the band's influences (either direct or indirect) include, among others, Eyehategod, Orange Goblin, Saint Vitus and Grief (none of which are bands that Turmoil would have been compared to back in the Bill Clinton era). But at the same time, the Kiss of Death isn't devoid of metalcore elements. Gula's screaming vocal style is more typical of hardcore and metalcore than stoner rock, and the Kiss of Death is much more ferocious than the majority of stoner bands. The Kiss of Death is not a merciful band; their work is dense, claustrophobic, harsh, unforgiving, noisy, and abrasive -- all of the things one expects metalcore to be. With the Kiss of Death, Gula and Hydro are looking to different areas of the metal world for inspiration -- they are successfully drawing on the groove and sludge of doom metal and stoner rock, as well as the screaming vocals and sledgehammer cruelty of metalcore. The Kiss of Death recorded their self-titled debut EP in late 2002 and early 2003; the disc was released by Tribunal Records (a small, metal-friendly label based in Greensboro, NC) in January 2004. ~ Alex HendersonPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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