It’s also what made the album hard to get into for the average fan messed up by constant MTV in their face. Medieval Kills! is not a pristine record, hindered by a tiny-sounding production and a few too many instrumentals. They do a rousing cover of the classic theme song from the “Peter Gunn” TV show, but it comes almost immediately after another instrumental “B.F.H.” There isn’t a reason to have these two so close together, and the meandering intro “Somnambulism” makes the instrumental number tick up to three.
Three is a crowd, but it’s not enough to tamper with the other material. As mentioned, Medieval is a tough band to categorize. They remind me of a heavier incarnation of Motorhead, in the sense that they take punk and throw it on its head with a metalized charge. The band is a trio, and there’s little in the way of layering to pad out the music. When guitarist Timmy Amsbuist gets the urge to shred (which happens very often), the rhythm section is left alone to jam out in the background.
When the band gets gritty with their music, there isn’t much in the way of exploration. Packed into two-and-a-half minute cuts, they come out energetic, throw a few catchy riffs around, and finish up with little fanfare. “Hell Is Full (Thrasher),” “Black Assassin” and “All Knobs To The Right” can be counted on for snappiness, without any languishing aftertaste.
Though they hardly break the three-minute mark, the instances when they do prove to be their most expansive songwriting ideas. “The Seventh Seal” is downright devilish with its doomy pace and descriptions of the moon turning to blood and plagues that will vanquish humans. “World War IV” is one of the shorter tracks, yet has a wonderful acoustic intro and feels like the band stuffed a double-digit opus into one-fifth the time.
Medieval had limitless potential that went unfulfilled after the release of their debut album. Medieval Kills! was the last significant release from the band, as they faded into obscurity shortly after. Their punk/metal style was hard to fit into the bulging music scene during the late ‘80s, though the story could have been different if this was released during the height of the NWOBHM movement. For not getting the proper attention back in 1987, Medieval Kills! gets the nod for this week’s Retro Recommendation.