The intrigue of Brighton-based newcomers Operation Kino (OP:K) isn’t just sharing a band name with a plot to kill Adolf Hitler and other high-ranking Nazis, on which the Tarantino film Inglorious Basterds was based. Drummer Max Griffin describes their music as: “Like a lion with snakes as legs; sounds terrifying on paper but in reality it’s hilarious,” and luckily they back this claim up with a huge sound led by raucous vocals and big bouncy metal riffs.
The foundations of Operation Kino is school friends Max, Ryan Seal (guitar) and Seb Good (bass), who have worked on various projects from parody covers through to hardcore over the years. The final piece of the jigsaw was vocalist Alec Greaves, who Max met at university in Brighton and auditioned by shouting at his potential band members for 20 minutes straight.
The quartet were inspired to start making music by listening to the likes of Gallows, Enter Shikari, Biffy Clyro and Reuben, then honed their understanding of songwriting and structure based on The Dillinger Escape Plan, Refused, Rage Against the Machine and more. And, as Max explains: “Because we’ve fused elements from so many sources we end up getting compared to a bunch of different bands. It’s really refreshing when we have a new name thrown at us, especially when it’s someone we haven’t heard of, or if we don’t know their material too well. Keeps us on our toes to keep mixing up genres and trying new things!”
Last year’s self-titled EP gives us a great insight into the OP:K sound. After an intro filled with weird reverby noises, Parameters drops into an awesome stabby guitar riff that explodes through a barrage of screamed vocals and huge cymbals. Twisty guitar bursts come in then the stabby riffs in support of a huge second verse with massive drums and screams. The pace drops right down through a chilled pause for breath then launches back into it with the wonderful screamed vocals: “Now before I suffocate, Allow me to reiterate, The respect that you want, Well I’ll give it to you blunt, You fake fucking cunt.”
That’s followed by the equally big Song Red, the band’s first single, which Max tells us: “Is our thoughts on what living in the Soviet Union during the the Cold War might have felt like, cut off from the rest world like North Korea is today.”
It dives straight into a huge blast of guitar riffs and screamed vocals “The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.” A screamy thing (still need to find a word for that) over riffs follows then dives into the vocals “Under the watchful eye of tyranny lies a life, Of solitude a life of secrecy, In the absence of scrutiny, They act with impunity.” Wild guitar riffs pop up accompanying some huge screamed vocals, then a cool melodic instrumental break that builds into a gradually more intense outro. Check it out in the video below:
The short sharp Knuckles Vs Teeth kicks off with a cry of “You’re fucking shitting me” then wild vocals over a fast repeated stabbing guitar riff, it’s quick in pace and in length, at just 1:20 of intense, full-on metallic angst, which ends with a comment of “Steady on.”
The best is probably left for last on the EP, with the excellent Do You Find Me Sadistic?! Opening with a cool flickering guitar riff and weird noises, the track soon explodes into life with a smash of high-pitched guitars, bass and huge cymbals alongside big screams of “Shallow minds for shallow graves, Hollow words from hallow slaves, An ever growing affliction, The infiltration of mass consumption.” The opening guitar returns through a verse, then dives into a big heavy chorus of low-pitched fast-paced guitars and screamed vocals. That’s followed by a cool guitar riff alongside more screamed vocals, then a brief pause is interrupted by stabbing guitars that build up to a really cool guitar-led outro.
When it comes to what inspires their music, Max tells us: “Lyrically we tend to write about any topics that interest us, which in the past have included history, politics, film and music. Overall we want to write lyrics that could spark interesting conversation and debate with anyone who reads into them. We’re shouty, loud, heavy and many other adjectives. Seriously though, the best thing to do is to come and see us live.”
The madder side of OP:K is highlighted by a recent video showing Seb laying down vocals for their upcoming new music (see below – warning, it’s loud and piercing on the ears). Max explains: “Yeah, that’s gotta be the silliest part we recorded for our next release. We went a bit stir crazy by the end of recording and started tracking whatever came to mind. Seb learnt he could make some very, shall we say, unique noises that day. It’s actually made it onto the record as well! Free t-shirt to whoever spots it and sends us the timestamps!”
The new EP is in the final stages of mixing and has been recorded through Axiom AV, a production company Seb, Alec and Ryan have been working on for the past couple of years after gaining a space to build an in-house studio that’s seeing the band mature its sound. Max tells us: “Our first release was a collection of singles we had recorded throughout our first year of OP:K with a couple of unreleased tracks book ending them. We’ve definitely taken our time with this next release to bring a more structured sound with a dash of everything we’ve learnt in the past couple of years.”
In addition to the EP, they’re also gigging wherever and whenever they can and have had a busy 2017, playing alongside some of our favourite bands including Defences and Jack The Envious, who they supported again last night alongside another favourite As Everything Unfolds.
But Max tells us their highlight of the year was supporting the mighty Employed To Serve. “We’ve all been fans of theirs since ‘Greyer Than You Remember’ dropped a couple years back so, after seeing them multiple times since, being asked to jump on the bill for their Brighton show was really exciting,” he said. “We were opening, so didn’t expect a huge turnout that early in the evening, but by the end of our first song the place had packed out and the mayhem got kick started. Couldn’t have asked for more really!”
We love the sound of OP:K, it’s big and heavy, it’s brash and angsty, and overall it’s awesome and fun.