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In On the Kill Taker

Fugazi

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Album Review

In on the Kill Taker is like scrubbing your face with steel wool. It finds the band relying on rusty guitar shards that scrape, seethe, and hiss, further removing itself from the sound of 13 Songs and Repeater. Harsh and grating, Fugazi surprisingly produces sheer noise at times, best witnessed in the lengthy closing of "23 Beats Off" and the unintentional Gremlins homage that opens "Walken's Syndrome." Joe Lally's bass and Brendan Canty's drums are relegated to acting as a guide; they're pushed — but not squashed — down in the mix, allowing for Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto's guitars to take control, corrosively so. It's probably Fugazi's least digestible record from front to back, but each track has its own attractive qualities, even if not immediately perceptible. "Facet Squared" and "Public Witness Program" open the record furiously, but the majority of the following "Return the Screw" is hardly audible, aside from occasional vocal tantrums. A good amount of time is spent alternating between low-key guitar noodling and intrusive bursts of aggression. They're smart with their sequencing, placing the gentle instrumental "Sweet and Low" (the only track where Lally plays a prominent role) after the exhaustive cacophony of "23 Beats Off," and generally piecing together a set of rather diverse tracks that flows well. Picciotto's anti-Hollywood rant on the properly titled "Cassavetes" is a classic Fugazi moment, as is his similarly name-dropping "Walken's Syndrome." Buried at the end of the record are two excellent lurchers, MacKaye's "Instrument" and Picciotto's "Last Chance for a Slow Dance." Not Fugazi's finest hour, but one of its most daring and rewarding.

Biography

Formed: 1987 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

If history is kind to Fugazi, their records won't be overshadowed by their reputation and methods of operation. Instead of being known for their community activism, five-dollar shows, ten-dollar CDs, resistance to mainstream outlets, and the laughably fictitious folklore surrounding their lifestyle, they will instead be identified as setting a high bar for artistic excellence that is frequently aimed for but seldom achieved with great frequency. During their existence, the four-piece created some...
Full bio