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Music Review: The Killer and the Star – The Killer and the Star

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Music shall never die, at least to Cold frontman Scooter Ward. After an almost indefinite hiatus with the grunge rock band, Ward began to put his musical passions elsewhere: that lucky project being known as The Killer and the Star. It took almost eternity to find the right name, label, and a release date, until finally after a great cult following (and the reunion of Cold itself) Ward finally gave the fans his debut album. And it is most certainly a "killer."

First off, The Killer and the Star is nothing like Cold… it is not hard or pop rock. There are no heavy driven guitar melodies like on the earlier albums or upbeat, catchy rhythms on the more recent ones. The music is basically smooth and slow. In fact, one could basically label this electronic as Ward sings his heart out backed by piano, orchestra, keyboards, and tons of electronic beats mixed with some guitar (barely audible) and very heavy bass. The piano is main instrument here; regarding Ward's other band, Cold, it has made its appearances on the last two albums, Year of the Spider and A Different Kind of Pain, but it was not the primary sound. Here on Killer and the Star, it really gets its chance to shine. And it works spectacularly.

Another interesting aspect is that the production of the sound is little grittier and faded than what most of Cold's fans may be used to, especially when it comes to the vocals. Scooter Ward tends to make his voice either electronically faded on tracks like "One Fine Line" or sings without much studio production help that makes his voice sound so mechanically clean on Cold's abums. Some may complain about this, but supporters could also note that it makes his songs sound so much more raw and emotional. On "Angel's Fall" it sounds like he's wailing his heart out on the chorus which will either strike you as heartfelt or annoying; listener's choice.

A final note is the lyrics; for some reason Ward tends to repeat the same words in multiple songs. He constantly mentions the Bible in tracks like "Living with Musicians" and "Questions." Other primary lyric themes, aside from religion, is love and the actual mention of the "Killer" and the "Star" on the tracks, "End of Summer," "Symphony for a Mad World," and "One Fine Line." Whether this is part of concept story or not still remains a question as there does not seem to any continuity between the songs. Previous lyrics from some of Cold's albums has worked their way onto the album as well; from Cold's The Killer and the Star the lyrics, "Take back this pain you gave," is clear on the track "Starts When You Fall" on this album. Could one accuse Ward of recycling material? It is possible, but even though the lyrics may not be as original as in his other band, it still sounds just as good with his new album.

With Cold's reformation, and a new album on the way in 2010, it is most likely The Killer and the Star will be put on hold for a short while, but since it holds such a unique and emotional sound it is most likely Mr. Ward and crew will grace our ears with a new piece hopefully very soon.

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