A friend clued me in to this EP over social media. Killer Instinct is apparently one person, “J.H.,” and they describe Killer Instinct as “retro dark synth inspired by cult horror movies.” That description held allure for me, but upon listening to the EP, I was fully hooked. It definitely holds true to the above quote.
The intro track is short but extremely dark, with a grizzled voiceover intoning crime statistics over thrumming low synth. It is brief, but serves its purpose. The tracks that follow have a sharp and hot feel to them, and emulate their stated influence pretty uncannily. An attentive listener will also pick out some bold choices in instrumentation, from pipe organs to Asian drums. “No One Lives” and “Marked For Death” are the highlights of the album when it comes to intensity. While many of the shifts and changes in melody are gradual and piecemeal, they seem appropriate and well-timed considering the overall tone of the music. To rephrase that more acutely, the whole thing seems very much like it well could be a soundtrack, the soundtrack to some awesome sci-fi-thriller that doesn’t exist. The collaborative track featuring Cluster Buster stands well alone, but fits plainly into the narrative of the whole EP. That track has perhaps the most deeply layered instrumentation on the album, but there is plenty of rich flavor in every bite of this EP.
I grant Killer Instinct’s eponymous EP a well-earned 7 out of 10 stars. It’s true enough to the genre, but really breaks out on its own when it wants to. It’s worth a listen, and we’ll no doubt see more hot work from this artist in the future.