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Gravity Kills

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Album Review

The debut effort from St. Louis industrial rock band Gravity Kills delivers an ample mix of crunching guitars, pounding drum loops, layered synthesizers, and vocals that escalate from intense whispers to raging screams. With its themes of alienation, hopelessness, and regret, the album resembles the abrasive tone of its first single "Guilty," the song that initially brought the band together to record when a St. Louis radio station was looking for tracks to include on a compilation project. "Guilty" gained popularity through extensive radio airplay in both the U.S. and Canada, quickly bringing industry attention to the four-piece. Along with this success came the pressure to record and release a full-length album. In 1995, the band signed with TVT Records and released Gravity Kills a year later. Throughout the album's 11 tracks, the band's sound rings a bit too familiar. It closely resembles that of a handful of other industrial rock acts, due in part to the influence of co-producer John Fryer (Nine Inch Nails, Stabbing Westward, Filter, White Zombie). Unfortunately, where the album is rich in production, it falls short on melody and originality. This isn't to say that melodies have been completely forgotten, but those that can be detected often seem recycled and are obstructed by a muddied layer of samples and atmospherics. Throughout the program, it seems that the band is using studio wizardry to over-compensate for lackluster songwriting. Although Gravity Kills starts off with a bang, sounds soon begin to run together and it gets increasingly difficult to discern where one song ends and another begins. Overall, the album is a moderately satisfying affair. While it succeeds in delivering a convincible sense of raw emotion and a good dose of angst-ridden metallic guitars, repeated listens would prove to be more enjoyable if the band had put more of an effort into their songwriting and less into programming and production tricks.


Formed: 1994 in St. Louis, MO

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Similar in style and approach to such industrial metal outfits as Ministry and KMFDM, Gravity Kills followed in their predecessor's path but ultimately failed to cause as big a splash. Guitarist Matt Dudenhoffer, keyboard player Douglas Firley, and bassist/drummer Kurt Kerns had been kicking around in various St. Louis, MO, bands since the mid-'80s, but the chance to land a song on a compilation by KPNT-FM got them together to record. The prospective hitmakers had no vocalist, however, so Kerns called...
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Gravity Kills, Gravity Kills
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