Hard-hitting spectacle

The versatile group behind Kill the Precedent puts the ‘or’ in hardcore

The only thing they’re scared of is smiling.

The only thing they’re scared of is smiling.

Photo BY Carlos Almanza

Kill the Precedent releases Some Version of the Truth at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, 2708 J Street, with Horseneck and Peace Killers. Doors open at 9 p.m., and tickets cost $10-$12.

As one of Sacramento’s most versatile bands, Kill the Precedent does not define itself by a specific genre. Nor does any label dictate which sound the group will confront next—and they like it that way.

The seven-member-strong crew attributes its diverse sound to an abnormal writing process: It begins with one member named Tapeworm. Members of the group also refer to the septic invertebrate as the “man behind the curtain.” Like some twisted Wizard of Oz, Tapeworm creates the skeletons of what will gradually evolve into music that’s both magnetic and complex.

After recording distorted guitar riffs, electronic effects and even some experimental noise, he emails the bare-bones track off to drummer Sgt. Pepper, who then adds a layer of hard-hitting percussion. This method continues until two guitarists, one bassist and two vocalists finish the song before the band even steps into the same room together. This has been their process for 10 years—and it works.

“There’s just so much going on in all the music parts and the vocals,” co-vocalist The Ugly American says. “It gives us a really big open area to do pretty much whatever the hell we want.”

On February 17, the band celebrates the release of its new EP Some Version of the Truth, released on Minus Head Records, the follow-up to the band’s full-length album Dialogues with the Dead. The EP combines elements of metal, punk and hardcore, cloaked in electronic effects. It even makes room for buoyant moments that invite audiences to dance.

“We stick with certain heavy genres of music, but we’re not a metal band or a punk band, or anything hardcore; we mix everything together and whatever happens, happens,” guitarist Catastrofiend says.

On the latest album, the song “Two Way Mirrors” not only sums up the band’s sound, but also showcases its growth. Technical guitar work is anchored with searing metal riffs and bolstered with lyrical aggressiveness from vocalists Twig the Exfoliator and The Ugly American. The track keeps the ears busy while the mind tries to guess which direction the music will head next.

Much like the new EP, KTP’s live shows are a high-energy and sometimes unpredictable spectacle. On one rare night, the band dressed up as Colombian drug lords and showered the venue with bags of fake cocaine.

“We want to put on a show,” The Ugly American says. “Our music can stand on its own by itself, but if you’re going to go out and see a band, and you see all this shit going on, it’s just more entertaining. It adds more character, and that’s what I would want to see.”

Still, with both vocalists using every inch of their platform and sometimes even colliding with fellow band members, KTP’s dynamic performances are always heightened by a stream of lo-fi visual effects projected behind drummer Sgt. Pepper. The succinctly timed clips feature abstract ’20s cartoons and obscure cult films, which adds a little mystique to the chaotic dance party that erupts on stage.

“We’re going to come out with no apologies and do whatever the fuck we can to get your attention,” Catastrofiend says. “Nowadays, you can’t just go up on stage, you have to go fucking crazy. We want to have fun. We want to entertain everybody. We’re going to keep doing it more to wake people up, because you don’t have to be pigeonholed into one thing.”