Here is the cover story from September 2014’s Tuning Fork Magazine, lightly edited and re-purposed for Vocals On Top.
“Metal is the feeling of being an outsider, but still being part of something huge.” comedian and hardcore metal head Brian Posehn famously quoted. When all the outsiders are part of the same thing they suddenly aren’t as solitary anymore. The stature of metal music is nothing frail or vulnerable either. Metal is more than a kind of music; it’s a lifestyle.
St. Joseph’s heaviest band Kilmaat (pronounced Kill-mot) fits right in with the metal lifestyle. The group just released their first album, “The Architect of Human Failure” on August 29th of this year. “This will be the heaviest thing that has ever been put out in St. Joseph,” guitarist Nathan Kight says “and we get to sort of kick start that.” The album is undoubtedly one of the sludgiest, thickest and most metal records you’ll hear come out of the area and the band is proud of that. The town’s metal scene is definitely not flourishing right now with only a handful of bands playing it without falling in with the 98.9 The Rock sound that traps so many. “Todd Cooper and those guys doing Full Power back in the day is the only other really heavy thing that has come from St. Joe.” lead singer William Seay says.
The seeds that became Kilmaat originated from guitarist Nathan Kight and drummer Joseph Moesch when they had a mainly studio project named Caldera. Bassist Brent Furst and his brother and guitarist Aaron Furst would later join as Kilmaat began to take shape. The pieces would finally all fall into place when metal enthusiast William Seay blew the band away with his first audition as a vocalist. “How could you not be in a band where the people love the music like this?” Seay says “Everybody in this band, all five of us, are passionate about music. It’s an obsession for all of us.”
When Aaron Furst first joined the group he was half the age of the band’s drummer but added a vital dynamic to the sound. “We had to slow him down.” Moesch says of Furst’s guitar skills, “I was like “slow down dude, I can’t even count the notes you just played.’” Aaron would add, “When I was 16 I think I didn’t even know a song, I just shredded.” After joining Kilmaat he refined his raw skills to play in the band alongside his brother Brent. “Brent is the mastermind of never forgetting any song we’ve ever played.” Moesch says of the band’s bass player “He’s a walking songbook.” Now the brothers are obviously essential to the group as Moesch elaborates “The Furst brothers have their own riffs and rhythms now with the band collaborating on the sound of it.”
Moesch should know, being the bands drummer is just part of his duties, he also serves as Kilmaat’s man behind the controls and is largely responsible for how professional “The Architect of Human Failure” sounds. From Caldera’s start, he and Kight have spearheaded the band but everything came full circle when Seay joined. The growling vocal singer wasn’t looking to join just any band however. “I was attracted to the progressive and technical elements of the instrumentation but also the attention to just being aggressive.” Seay says.
The heaviness and aggressiveness can’t be understated; the group even has a 5 string bass and two 7-string guitars to add to their tuned-down sound. “The strings kind of flop around there in some spots” Kight says with a laugh, “Playing a 7th or 8th string is no different than adding toms to a drum set, it just adds range.” Aaron Furst says as he explains why those particular instruments are used. Their sound is still far from mindless rage and playing as fast as they can; “We’re coming out as a metal band and coming out strong but we are also discussing atmospheric passages that we are great at opening up.” Kight says. With the low, growling vocals and the mathematical way this band constructs songs it is easy to see how they don’t fit in with mainstream metal, their sound is much more intellectual and elaborate than that.
Behind the thick guitars, thunderous bass and percussion style drumming you might be shocked to find there is no blood and guts, gore or cursing or even religion prevalent in the lyrics. There is a fair amount of struggle however, the album title “The Architect of Human Failure” tells you a lot about the subject matter they cover. The band name may also give you some insight; if you have heard of the kilmaat you get some good nerd credibility because it is an obscure reference to the 1997 Playstation game PowerSlave. The kilmaat is the insectoid alien race you must defeat in the game. The songs of the new Kilmaat album all tie together and come from a bleak place of struggle. Seay sums it up by saying “Humanity is a germ on a rock ball. If there is a bleak message from Kilmaat, that is it.”
The album was carefully and painstakingly crafted to be up to the high standards of the band. “We’ve been very meticulous on the recording,” Seay says, “we didn’t want anybody else to hear it unless we knew that it was ready to go and we feel the same way about the packaging and artwork.” Local artist Phil Sanders with the help of Stacie Gaston carefully created the cover artwork based on the songs to top off the entire package. “We’ve been so relaxed in this whole process,” Kight says “we’ve had no deadlines or anything like that.” This is the way the album has been able to receive the nurturing it deserves.
The best way to push a new album is to impress on stage and Kilmaat isn’t intimidated by this notion as their live show is carefully planned as well. With a particular set order and each of the songs carefully practiced so they can pull them off without a hitch. Kight sums up the band’s desire to impress when performing by simply saying “We make sure when we walk out on that stage we aren’t going to leave anybody’s jaw attached.”