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Fact and Fixtion:
The music of Killed The Fixtion

New Jersey has always been a haven for diversity, and with this diversity comes a richness in the mosaic that is NJ’s music scene. One particular band that exemplifies diversity in fine form is a very original act by the name of Killed The Fixtion.

Killed The Fixtion are a hard rock/alt-metal group that proudly display their influences in the music they write. Influences not just in the bands that inspire them, but also in the various musical styles that surround them. Jazz, blues, funk, punk, metal, rap, rock, pop and even various traces of ethnic styles are clearly evident in their constantly evolving sound. The very description “Too Many To Name” under the category of Artists We Also Like on their Facebook page is proof that KTF are drawing inspiration from the global talent pool without pretense or judgment.

Before I discuss the discography of KTF, I want to acknowledge that there is an overarching message behind their music. This message is the first thing you will see upon visiting their website:

"In an era where over production and "faking it" seem to be law, Killed The Fixtion have bred new life into the world of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. By striping away their own Fiction (Fixtion) personally and musically, this band of brothers have paved the way for bands to think outside the box… The boys in KTF "Killed their Fixtion" a long time ago and they invite you to do the same."
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Music Publication
The Aquarian Weekly

I asked their manager Rigo “Papa Bear” Asencio about this message of positivity in KTF’s music, and about being true to oneself. Having read that KTF was formed by youths escaping their involvement in street gangs, I wanted to know if they were speaking out directly against this form of gang mentality. The message, as Rigo explains, is much more than that:

Rigo: “I can only speak from our experiences and what we have seen from life at this point. When we think of gangs, the first thing we think about are street gangs. What about liberals, republicans, Catholics, Muslims, Christians, metal heads, punks, jocks, nerds, and so on? We have a gang mentality problem as a human race. We try to categorize ourselves within groups and just accept their beliefs without ever questioning them. Forget about Hillside and Newark, there is gang problem going on in the world. The purpose of Killed the Fixtion is to awaken and define yourself. Forget about what someone is telling you to be! You uncover the truth about who you truly are. This is what we're speaking out against with our music. The process of blindly accepting beliefs and ideas that are not yours. We broke away from this thought pattern a long time ago and we are continually defining ourselves as we get older. As our drummer Abbad has always quoted: “To thine own self be true.”

Killed The Fixtion formed in 2009. Members are Nelson Ceron on vocals, Kevin Izquierdo on guitar, Robert Asencio on bass and drummer Abbad Ibn Townsend. They released a three song demo in June of 2010. Tracks include “Crank”, “Shades Of Limit” and “Stronger Than The Fist”. “Crank” is a fast paced rocker with an almost old school skater-thrash vibe to it. I hear a bit of Suicidal Tendencies/S.O.D. meets Paul Di’Anno era Iron Maiden in it. “Shades Of Limit” delivers an even more thrashy sound with hints of Anthrax, and vague nuances of Metallica (prior to Master Of Puppets). Great song dynamics with a killer guitar solo that closes this powerful track. “Stronger Than The Fist” reinforces the NWOBHM hybrid thrash metal feel that I get from this demo that takes me back 26 years ago to those heady days at the tail end of the eighties. An incredible little outing for a band that couldn’t have been together much more than a year when it was recorded.

KTF have recorded several cover songs, six altogether that I know of. Three of those six are Misfits songs - a very apt choice in my opinion. I’m not sure where they fit within their chronological discography, but all are well played. Even in their cover songs their sound is undeniably their own. I have a soft spot for AIC so “Nutshell” was a fave of mine, but White Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ’65” and their unique take on “Under Pressure” are also great.

With the diverse tapestry of music coming out of New Jersey I felt compelled to ask Rigo how this has affected KTF’s sound, where they saw themselves in this musical mosaic and if there is support amongst metal bands in New Jersey:

Rigo: "New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country. With so many different cultures and races living here, it's the perfect recipe for an incredible music scene. We have it all from pop, hip hop, r&b, gospel, blues, country, edm, house music, freestyle, metal, rock, latin, and so much more. There are always shows happening in the state no matter what genre you choose to like the most. New Jersey is the cesspool that everyone makes it out to be. It's a cesspool of talent. In terms of support amongst band, it really all depends like in any scene. You have your rock stars that believe their above everyone and then you have your humble ones. For the most part, forget about the “metal” bands part. Artists, musicians, and bands are very supportive of each other in this state. Everyone supports everyone regardless of genre. We're all in the same struggle to make dreams a reality."

"Forget about Hillside and Newark, there is gang problem going on in the world."

The music that KTF have released since their demo debut in 2010 shows an incredible growth spurt in terms of both the maturity of their songwriting along with a remarkable advancement to their level of skill. No small feat considering they were still a fiercely tight unit on their 2010 recordings.

Again, I’m not sure of the chronology so I’ll just list the songs in alphabetical order. “Ardour. Awe. Devoir” has a strong Pearl Jam vibe to it, but it blew me away in terms of how different it sounds compared to their early work. “Dead Man March” is a powerful track with moodiness not unlike what you might hear from Tool or even Monster Magnet, and the delivery has hints of RATM at times. It’s a great track that I really enjoyed getting lost in. “Moonlite Blue” continues this tour de force of rage and energy. A great progression from their early material, this is very in-the-moment track and I loved it! “Our Mother”, though not a bad song by any stretch, is my least favorite probably because the sound is a little more folky. It reminds me slightly of Hootie & the Blowfish. It strays from their heavier style which I adore, but it shows that they have the guts to explore various styles. It’s a strong lyrical song too. “Pulse” brings back the heavy sound I’ve come to know and love about KTF, and “Sunilda” is a blues number with some nice textural dynamics and an interesting lead out. It shows me that, even when dabbling in standards, KTF are almost always bringing something fresh to the table.

Along with their message of positivity, KTF offer free downloads of their music for those who subscribe to their monthly newsletter - a very fair trade! In fact it’s probably more in the favor of the listener. Just shows how much they care about getting their music out there.

I asked Rigo if Killed The Fixtion would entertain releasing an album at some point…

Rigo: "Due to time and economic restrictions, we prefer to do singles only with our music. As a local band, you have to keep it fresh and consistently be able to release music. The singles concept allows us to do this. In addition artistically speaking, it helps up take on every song as a brand new album. This is why every song is like a new album in itself. It's really a lot of fun!"

Killed The Fixtion have another song, also available for download, called “Roots of the Mountain” which is what first got me hooked on this musical powerhouse. It reaches a whole new level of artistry for them and it makes me wonder if there isn’t anything this fascinating and hardworking band couldn’t achieve if they were to put their minds to it.

So what did Rigo have to say when asked about what Killed The Fixtion have in store for the future?

Rigo: "Oh man! We have so much in the works right now. We have new songs, covers, and new merchandise that is due to be released very soon. If you want to stay up to date with everything, all you have to do is sign up for our monthly newsletter. This is the best way to get discount codes, free music, and show dates with us. If you sign up, we also send you our entire music catalog for free. You can sign up here."

I urge you to check out the fantastic music of Killed The Fixtion while they still offer it free to download. An incredible band with a powerful message to spread, you can't get much better than that! Along with their website and Facebook page, they also have a Twitter profile and a Youtube channel.

Richard Leggatt, HMS

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