Yes - I think maybe it is. This is the album where Fugazi really matured. There were definite signs of it on the preceding album (Steady Diet of Nothing) but they really nail it here. It took a lot of guts to make a record like this. Especially for Fugazi who, through their immensely admirable attitude to getting rich of their success, hardly had a pile of money to fall back on should the album bomb. As another reviewer commented it takes more than one listen to really get this record.
With In On The Killtaker, Ian and Guy jettisoned the massive hooks and power riffs of their early albums and replaced them with something no less faithful to their Hardcore roots but infinitely more experimental and considered. Stylistically you could argue this was the point at which Guy's influence began to be reflected equally to Ian's for the first time. Certainly there is more here that is reminiscent of Rites of Spring than there are echoes of Minor Threat. With one key exception - Ian's still out to deliver an uncompromising message with his words. From 23 Beats Off:
He used to pretend he was fighting some war somewhere Now everything depends on fighting some war He never thought he'd be an exclamation point A demonstration of his disease A punctuation mark A household name with hiv
A more mature lyricist for sure but still all the intelligence and anger of that 17 year old that defined a movement, built a successful record label and spawned not one but 3 musical sub-genres.
It's a bit churlish to pick out individual tracks for praise from this album as a large part of its appeal it's the cohesion and expansive styles of the album but to get a good taster I'd recommend Rend It (a slow moody/faster shouty/slow moody construct familiar to Fugazi fans), Smallpox Champion (probably the best of the faster, choppier, Guy-sung tracks), the aforementioned 23 Beats Off (one of those uniquely Fugazi slow, brooding, repetitive, powerful Ian numbers) and Sweet and Low which is an instrumental. In fact Sweet and Low is probably my favourite track. It's has a slow rhythmic one-off beat with the trademark Fugazi insistence and proves that great musicianship is about mastery of your instruments' assets not about how athletic your fingers are on a fretboard. It has an almost jazzy feel that brings to mind the groove-laden work of the great Mike Watt (Minutemen and fIREHOSE).
This should not necessarily be the first Fugazi album anyone buys as it takes work and could scare a newcomer off. Start with something accessible like 13 Songs and when you feel like you're bound to Fugazi for life (they tend to have that effect!) then branch out and commit a few days to repeat playing this masterpiece. You'll never regret the investment.
Every Fugazi album is brilliant but this is arguably their best. Hardcore at its very best. Forget the bombast of Rollins, forget the cartoon punk of your Green Days and your Blink 182's, Fugazi just blow them away without even trying. Brilliant songs and brilliant musicianship, from the 2 minute punk bliss of Public Witness Programme and Great Cop, through the pure angst of Rend it, the feedback overload of 23 Beats Off to the virtuosity of the instrumental Sweet and Low, and always with a social conscience and great intellegence. You've listened to the rest now listen to the best.
Being a Fugazi fan, I found that 13 songs was a fine album, some great catchy and original tunes, though I find the best one to be the arguement, which is simply brilliant. So I decided after getting red medicine, I should get this one as I found it cheap. I'm on the Kill Taker, it's a lot more difficult to get into than the previous albums, although its by no means a a bad album, in fact I really like it, theres some great tracks on here but you have to listen to the CD about 6 times before any tracks really stand out from the others. If you've got the patience, then get this CD. but most of their other albums are more highly recommended.