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Medieval - Medieval Kills! Review

User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Medieval - Medieval Kills!

Medieval - Medieval Kills!

Kalamazoo, Michigan is not just a fun name to say out loud; it is also the home turf of the metal group Medieval. It’s better to just call them a metal group, as the next best description would be “Post New Wave of British Heavy Metal Punk-Driven Thrash, With a Side Order of Quirkiness.” No point in trying to fit that onto a press release, and the lack of a concise depiction of their music could have been what made their first album Medieval Kills! so intriguing.

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.

"Somnambulism/Rules Of Fools” Video

User Reviews

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 4 out of 5
Kick A** Monthly, Member dschalek

An interesting side note to this album is an infamous concert that took place in New York (I think) around this time. Kick A** Monthly publisher/ editor Bob Muldowney was singing the praises of this band for months in his 'zine, a great publication that I eagerly hunted down as often as it was published. Medieval did not fit the metal stereotype when they played live (short hair and so forth), and were subsequently heckled by the crowd, who, apparently, simply didn't get it. Muldowney was so ticked off by the disrespect that he basically gave up on the underground community and folded his 'zine. We're all the worse off for it due to that little episode of American metal history, as Kick A** was simply that, kick a**. R.I.P. Bob Muldowney.

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