Aside from clobbering his kit for SPEWTILATOR, Amos Rifkin also hangs with fellow Atlanta throwback metalheads, DEATH OF KINGS. Whereas the former is reckless as all hell, one-time punkers Rifkin and DEATH OF KINGS are much more precise with their thrash and classic power metal motifs, each represented on the group's "Knifehammer" 45 single.
Boris Records, quickly becoming a waxy hotbed for Atlanta-based metal acts, issues "Knifehammer" on bitchin' misty green colored vinyl. Following their demo, EP and split with, you guessed it, SPEWTILATOR, DEATH OF KINGS' "Knifehammer" is tried and true retro metal with shrieking lead vocals from Matt Matson (also lead guitarist) and sharp construction, even if all of this is offering nothing innovative.
Innovation is hardly needed when the title track blazes with high quality thrash lines from Amos Rifkin and rabid shredding from Matt Matson and Scott Price. With Matson taking over lead guitars following Steve Casey's departure from DEATH OF KINGS, the solo section of "Knifehammer" is superb. Matson and Price tear it up with multiple tradeoffs along with bassist Ash Hellion. Together, they sound focused, yet they loosen the gears just enough to let their hectic solos fly free.
On the B-side is "Beneath the Obsidian", worked from the ARMORED SAINT school of power metal. Despite the cliché air raid sirens that grate slightly through "Beneath the Obsidian"'s momentum, the metrical guitar and bass lines take over the song while Amos Rifkin holds the line until the solo section, where he lets a few extra chops show.
It appears DEATH OF KINGS are taking their time perfecting their repertoire before committing to a full-length album. Just as well, with so many bands doing likewise, and not just in Atlanta. Still, "Knifehammer" is a badass double shot for the old school and as a two-song 7-inch, the throwback illusion sits even better.