By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
Say the name Killjay to any good metal fan in North Mississippi, and you’re likely to get one of two responses: “I love those guys!” or “They’re still around?”
Killjay, made up of Mark Clingan, Justin Enlow, Joe Cassatta and Emo Slayer, has made a name for itself as one of the most popular metal bands in the area in its 10-year career.
The group hasn’t performed much at all in about a year and a half, though, because the guys have been holed up in, of all places, a cabin, recording a new album.
“It’s like a whole new start for us,” said Clingan, Killjay’s lead singer. “If we’re gonna take this much time off, I don’t want to give fans a half-good record. It’s going to pay off in a lot of ways. It’s kind of starting a Killjay revival.”
2006 was Killjay’s most successful year to date, by opening up for Saliva and releasing its popular “Leave Me Alone” EP. After those successes, it bottomed out, both for the band and for its members. When the dust settled, Clingan and crew got to work writing new music.
“All of our frustration and determination comes out on the album,” Clingan said. “This album, it’s definitely Killjay, but it’s more mature. It’s musically mature. You’re able to tell the amount of time we took to make it. There’s more personality on this album than in the past.”
That might’ve been thanks to a change of venue. For the group’s previous efforts, Killjay recorded in Biloxi, but this time the guys found a cabin out in the woods.
“We wanted to get away from everything. We rented a cabin for three or four days and ate, slept and breathed the album,” he said.
The result is “The Verdict,” Killjay’s third full-length record and first double album.
The first disc is 13 new tracks, while the second disc is all acoustic. Some of the acoustic tracks are re-imagined takes on Killjay classics like “You Hate Yourself” and “Leave Me Alone.”
“The Verdict” features Killjay at both its lightest and its heaviest.
“We expanded in both directions, in our own style,” he said.
The group is ready to show off the new songs at its CD release party.
“It’s been a long time, and we are itching to play Tupelo again,” he said.
A new chapter
For Killjay, “The Verdict” is a new start in the band’s story.
The group has seen a few line-up changes over the years – Clingan is the group’s only original member – and has seen its share of highs and lows, but Clingan has kept fans satisfied with a steady stream of metal.
“I’m going to give the fans something they can rely on, something that’s stable,” he said. “I’d rather be a failure than a quitter.”
Killjay is promoting its new single, “Junk,” and is looking forward to hitting the road next year, especially in new markets outside North Mississippi.
“Somebody once said we were the hard rock heavyweight champions of North Mississippi,” Clingan said. “I want to be the champions of the Southeast.”
CD release party
– Who: Killjay,Fluwid, Sintonik,
– When: Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday
– Where: Goodtime Charlie’s, Tupelo
– Cost: $10/advance, $12/day of show. Preorder Killjay’s new album, “The Verdict,”online at killjay.com for $15 and the price includes the album, a sticker and entry to the show.
– Info: killjay.com or (662) 275-3546.