Berlin band Kill Her First have honed their hardcore punk roots and layered in metalcore influences and emo vocals to develop a truly delicious, angsty sound. The result is music that’s sensitive and powerful, dark and personal, and authentic and uncompromising.
The band began when vocalist Gero Crocianelli met Giulia Campagna and Jana Calvi back in 2007, slap-bang in the heart of the emo era, and they started playing punk rock together. Members came and went through the years, but they’ve settled on the current lineup completed by guitarist Sophie Schwalbe and David Lütke on drums. Kill Her First released an EP Born To Be Strong back in 2016, followed by several singles and a superbly titled 2017 EP Kill Her Sexismracismhomophobia First.
And on the sound they’ve honed in that time, David tells us: “I always say, we are ‘not so hardcore.’ We’ve come quite a way from the mid-2000s music that inspired all of us. You can still find traces of Silverstein, Taking Back Sunday or Underoath. But the mix is more colorful now, even with influences of rock or hip hop.”
Our latest taste of this is the band’s brand new EP Empty Hands, which was released on Friday (3 December). The EP opens up with their feisty single This Ain’t A Cherry-Picking Party, which starts with Gero’s angsty vocals that give way to a delicious stabbing guitar riff. That continues under gruff screamed vocals that play call and response with more melodic vocals. A second chorus drops into chugging palm-muted chords and crashing cymbals under intense screamed vocals. That feeds into a final big chorus before ending on big screamed vocals.
On the track, Gero told us: “That song has been my favorite for a while now, because it’s rude, sincere and a punch in the face. So it’s a relief to get all the positive reactions, I am very grateful for that.”
And David added: “We have actually played it a few times now and especially at our recent video release show at SO36 in Kreuzberg, we felt a ton of energy from the crowd. It’s fun to write a banger like that and for the first time, the bounce-factor played a special role when we built the song. At least for me. It’s the right mix of sing-along and pound-your-fist.” Check it out for yourself in the video here:
The EP is packed with metalcore meets post-hardcore goodness. That includes the excellent, high-octane All Wealth Is Fiction, which includes delicious driving riffs and intense vocals, and Borders, which opens up with a cool stabbing riff before building into huge screamed vocals.
But it concludes with their latest release Dead Between The Lines, which opens up with huge screams supported by a vicious riff. Powerful vocals are supported by a cool little riff and feeds into a heavy chorus. A second verse gives way to a rare moment of ambient calm that’s intriguingly disturbed by guttural vocals then drops into a punky section that suddenly intensifies with big low-tuned guitars, strings and screamed German vocals. Suddenly, clean vocals and light guitars take over to bring the track to a more melodic ending. Check it out in the video below:
As alluded to, the band’s members share a love for metalcore and punk rock but all have very different musical tastes. As David explains: “I can come to rehearsal after a week of listening to nothing but country while Gero has been diving into trap and Sophie into mathcore djent. Mix it all together and it can be magic.”
And on what inspires them to write music, Gero tells us: “Life has many stories, the most interesting are the personal ones because you can feel them. For me, making music is a kind of self-therapy.
While David adds: “We write the music first and then add lyrical layers that can cover angst, depression, anger but at the same time hope, solidarity and freedom. The title to Empty Hands contains both aspects – the pain and the promise.”
This is the first German band we’ve covered in over six months, so we were keen to get the band’s thoughts on their local scene. David told us: “German bands seem to have it harder overall. There’s a strong little scene in Berlin and other German cities, but in this genre, you’re always measured up against US/UK names. German bands that blow me away are FJØRT, The Tidal Sleep, Sheridan. There are a lot of new German bands ready to kick ass!”
There’s plenty more to come from Kill Her First, including the new EP being released on vinyl in February. They’re also ready to get back on the road after the pandemic delayed their plans, and they already have a first festival booked in for September.
And as Gero tells us: “Shows are the most fun. It will be a live year again, I hope! And we have a dream: We would love to tour Japan one day.” So there you go, all Japanese metal promoters, give them a call!
And David adds: “Seeing faces at the show is the greatest thing for us – we love making music behind the scenes, in the studio or even in visual packages like now with the videos and artwork, but live is where we feel what we are doing it for. So if you get a chance, come see us play live soon. Thanks for your support.”
You can follow Kill Her First on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon Music and Tidal. And check out more new bands on their label Krod Records.