New York City’s own IKILLYA are back with their first record in three years, which also marks their inaugural disc with Megaforce Records. Though the band formed in 2005, they have just begun to release albums in recent years, starting with their 2011 debut, Recon, and now their sophomore LP, Vae Vicitis, which translates to “woe to the vanquished ones” in Latin.
Though the title-track opens the record, the band fails to put their best foot forward, and the song itself is unfortunately lackluster. This can be said especially for the first few tracks, as they are mostly forgettable and don’t possess anything spectacular that makes them stand out against their contemporaries. Luckily, as the album continues, it seems as if the band became more comfortable with their sound and therefore more experimental. For example, “Bear Your Name” offers an unlikely twist at the end, bringing the track to a soft fade out before introducing a jazz horn into the mix. Though this finale is out of place, it works, and shows the group’s versatility. A brief, funky bassline opens “Mission To Mars,” and continues to take center stage throughout the majority of its run. “Jekyll Better Hyde” also deserves a mention, as it fluctuates between calm, melodic choruses and hard-hitting verses, complete with double-kick drums and chugging guitars before coming to a close with chanting gang vocals.
Vae Vicitis is hit or miss, with nothing in between. Either IKILLYA nail it and create music that is interesting and engaging, or songs somewhat fail to hit their mark.