Bang your head

Whatever the genre, Peace Killers keeps it gritty, heavy and to the point

The future’s so heavy, they gotta wear shades.

The future’s so heavy, they gotta wear shades.

Photo by Sarah Elliott

Catch Peace Killers at their album-release show at 10 p.m. on Saturday, January 30, at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub. Tickets cost $10-$12. Learn more at

Ask members of Peace Killers to describe their sound and many answers tumble out: “Tweaker dad rock, if you ask Submerge.” “AutoZone work blues.” “Classic rock from the future.”

Despite their own uncertainty about genre claims, everybody else has a worse time of it.

“People didn’t even know where to put our band,” says Alex Dorame, bassist. “A review said ’genre: ???’”

For all of this hair-splitting, the final product isn’t actually so complex. To hear the music is to know that it’s heavy, it’s headbanging and it’s straight to the point. Only when you try to pin it down in a few words do the blended layers become apparent.

Just listen to the grooving, crunchy bass line on “Devil’s Daughters” off their upcoming eponymous debut album and you’ll get it right away. Dorame puts it best: “That shit’s gritty and dumpster-y as fuck.”

That gnarly bass line and the dueling guitars are evidence of how the band approaches songwriting. This is about riffage, says Andrew Harrison, on vocals and lead guitar. Once there’s a solid riff, they’ll build the song to fit and fatten up the skeleton with whatever styles and effects feel best to them.

“I like to do more common song structures,” Harrison said. “Everything sonically doesn’t match structurally.”

The band formed a few years back when Harrison and Dorame started working together after playing many of the same acoustic shows at Cafe Colonial. The pair talked about an electric project, and through jam sessions and a lineup shift, they eventually settled with drummer Greg Hyatt and backup vocalist-rhythm guitarist Cory Wiegert.

All of the members are coming from different musical backgrounds, which explains the band’s multifaceted sound profile. Wiegert, also a member of punk groups Dead Dads and the Strange Party, adds dashes of Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy because he says he craved a metallic twin-lead style that he doesn’t get to use elsewhere. You can hear the fuzz of Melvins and the bite of alt- and post-punk in Dorame’s bright bass. Harrison, who handles the lyrics, draws from classic rock, blues and just about anything else, including Willie Dixon (whose song “Spoonful” gets covered as the album’s closing track) and Game of Thrones. And while Hyatt admits that he’s not as musically well-versed as his bandmates, his intense drumming still takes influence from the Dave Grohls of the world, as well as drummer Chris Robyn of the classic Sacramento band Far.

This blend is evident on their album, which they say they were still figuring out even as they recorded it with Patrick Hills at Earth Tone Studios. And in the time between laying down tracks and their album coming out on Svart Records last Friday, they’ve only gotten more cohesive—and meaner.

“Our live sound is so completely different than what’s on the record,” Harrison says. “We’re much dirtier live.”

As for the future, it’s nothing but up after the band’s January 30 record-release show with thrashers Psychosomatic and industrial punks Kill the Precedent. They’re contemplating a tour, maybe some special shows here and there. Most of all, they’re ready for record No. 2, which may only remotely resemble the first.

“I think it’ll be weird, but it’ll be us,” Harrison said.