Medieval – ‘Medieval Kills’

Artist: Medieval

Title: Medieval Kills!

Label: New Renaissance Records

Year: 1987

Review by Mike Keller

This is another band I have liked for what seems like aeons now, that recently has seemed to have risen in popularity amongst metalheads in general. Medieval hailed from Kalamazoo Michigan of all places and actually made a bit of noise in the early 80’s underground scene (they were worshipped by the legendary Bob Muldowney of Kick Ass Monthly Fanzine, appeared on Metal Massacre vol 4, along with a few of the New Ren comps), they released a few awesome demos (that are luckily available on a collection from Buried By Time and Dust now), a Self titled EP, and then this Full Length album. I had heard of Medieval through Mike Perun of Chicago’s Cianide when I interviewed him for my fanzine back in 1996 and had asked what bands he was listening to those days. Took a few years but I ended up finding a left over copy of the cassette at a local record shop here in 99/00, and spent the next 16-17 years extolling the virtues of this band to anyone at all who hadn’t heard of them ha. My band Sacrificial Blood even covered their song “All Knobs To The Right” in our live set for many years early on. So this quite simply is one of my all time fav records and obviously was even influential for me in it’s own right. Now on to the songs……

“Sommnambulism” opens things up and it is a dark and gothic sounding intro of soundscapes, setting a doomy tone for the first actual song “Rules Of Fools” which is slow and crushing, with a little bit of old style Rock N Roll boogie thrown in. Heavy as fuck and will have you banging your head right along with it from the get go.

The aformentioned “All Knobs….” is next and is an upbeat garage Metal anthem, not far off from Holocaust on their classic debut The Nightcomers. This was also the title of one of their demos and is pretty much one of their most revered songs overall. “BID YOUR BALLS FAREWELL!!!!!” haha, Metal Up Your Ass wimps!!!!

“Life After Death” follows and maintains the high energy of the previous song. Keeping the momentum going, lyrics covering man’s forever questioning of religion and it’s application (or lack thereof) to real life as we know it.

“The Seventh Seal” is next and brings back a dark gothic kinda feel, the lyrics I believe covering a Horror Movie of the same title or something, much doom and gloom on this one, but still everything very catchy and anthemic, this band was all about hooks and that is also what I am all about so you’ll never forget this song after you hear it, it’s too damn catchy haha.

“B.F.H.” is up next and is an upbeat instrumental more in the “All Knobs…..” kinda class, keeps the momentum up and rolling and isn’t boring like a alot of instrumentals tend to be.

“Plague” follows and originally was on one of their demos and only the cassette version of the original pressing, but was added on to the reissue LP. It evokes a similar feel to “Rules Of Fools”, very slow, doomy, and crushing, but again not boring or over dramatic, still retains almost a Punk like urgency and immediacy to it. Medieval were cool like that whereas even though a good portion of their songs fell under a “Doom” banner, they never went on to long or made shit boring like so many of those bands tend to do haha.

“Reign Of Terror” closes out side 1, and ups the tempo and mood again into a faster more Heavy Metal feel. Not far off from Blitzkrieg maybe? “With one touch of my burning hand, eternal blazin’ hell on earth!!!! Vaporize everything that stands, destroy everything of worth!!!!” “No one will be spared!!!! From the Reign Of Terror!!!!!” bad fucking ass and a great midpoint to leave things at before you flip the side.

“Peter Gunn Theme” kicks off side 2, and is another instrumental piece from the band, this being a cover of the old theme music that we’ve all heard somewhere before, be it a movie, tv commerical etc. (my instant memory of this song is from the old arcade video game Spy Hunter haha).

“Hell Is Full (Thrasher)” comes next and as title implies, it is a souped up super charged version of a song found in different arrangement on their debut EP. Not quite fast enough for Thrash Metal proper, but played with fierce Hardcore Punk like aggression, this song is tough as goddamn nails and will have you acting like a maniac for sure. “The fires of hell they yearn for you!!!! Stoked on fear they burn for you!!!! Burning bodies they glow in the night!!!! Charcoaled souls that burn so bright!!!!” “Hell is full and you hear the fires ROAR!!!! There’s always room for just one more!!!!” bad fucking ass haha.

“Blood And Anger” takes the mood down a notch, upbeat but not as balls out as the song previous, this song is a great midpace rocker with cool lyrics about murder and/or revenge. “Feel the danger, fear the stranger!!!! You don’t know that man is me, you’re gonna die now can’t you see!!!! Take my hate out on you!!!! Gonna push it, push it,push it, push it right through you!!!!!” awesome. Another one sorta in the Holocaust mode. It rules.

“World War IV” is up next, starting with an acoustic intro, then going balls out in the “Hell Is Full” vein, nothing spared everything let loose. “I’ll rise from the ashes, of World War III, destroy all remaining creatures that threaten me!!!!!” “I’ll sacrifice my life to gain my strength!!!! I’ll drink the blood from the grail of Medieval saints!!!!!” “Pray for the day when you’ll see my severed head. World World IV won’t be over, til I am dead!!!!!” Awesome.

“Black Assassin” puts us back in “All Knobs” territory, midpaced but all out at the same time. Great rocker that maintains the album’s pace perfectly.

“Death Is Beauty” again drops the mood down another notch but no momentum lost. This is an upbeat Doom (?) number, musically driving hard with lyrics that are simply a rant against the world and how bad it sucks haha. Youthful angst at it’s finest. Anthem for lost souls absolutely. Great.

“Epitaph” appropriately enough is the album’s finisher, and we find ourselves again in upbeat “All Knobs….” territory, going all out for the closer and leaving you itching for more. It’s too bad this was their last release and we didn’t get a follow up.

Now for the confusing part haha. Some years ago New Ren had reissued this on CD with the EP and some newer songs the band had recorded at some point in Y2K. Then last year or something High Roller did both the EP and LP as separate vinyl releases. I have orig pressings of both as well as “Kills!” on cassette and the CD, and now I have the reissue LP of “Kills!” which is what I listened to for this review. Mine came on cool splatter color vinyl and has a big ass poster of the album cover as well like most of High Roller’s releases, so it’s very much worth it for that. The CD is also cool because it has both releases in addition to tracks you can’t get anywhere else. And the aformentioned Demo Collection on BBTAD (tited “One Morbid”) also fucking rips and is a must have as well!!!! So get all of them!!!!! The bootleg distros are already selling shirts and shit so don’t be the last one to the party haha.

Mike Keller