After 11 shows that spanned 10 states, Cleveland rockers, A Killer’s Confessionrolled into Columbus on a chilly December evening for the final show of “A Very Killer Christmas Tour” at the Alrosa Villa, with You Are A Toy (from Toledo, OH) and Awake At Last (from Dover, DE).

Formed after vocalist Waylon Reavis left Mushroomhead, A Killer’s Confession has a sound that is just as heavy, yet more mature, encompassing the myriad emotions of Reavis. The band is comprised of Reavis (vocals), JP Cross (bass), Matt Trumpy (guitar) and Jon Dale (drums).

Waylon Reavis looking dapper for the final show of the tour. (Credit: S Toale / MIMC)

After the support bands got the small, yet enthusiastic crowd properly primed, the band took to the stage and opened with the title track, A Killer’s Confession, from their latest album, “Unbroken.” The slower tempo of the song belied the heaviness that was about to be unleashed, as Reavis jumped up and implored the audience to “make some fucking noise!”

The faster pace of Rebirth assaulted us next, with Reavis’ voice carrying a full range of emotional gravitas. The tune went from soft to hard, and at times very heavy, yet had a serenely melodic tone running throughout the number. There were points within it that carried strains of Tool and A Perfect Circle.

At this point, they launched a full-on assault with the crushing Reason washing over the moshing crowd, as Reavis’ vocals ramped up the intensity. He proved that you can pull guttural emotions from deep within, while still maintaining melodic structure. Despite feeling under the weather, Reavis gave it his all and proclaimed at its conclusion, “That is why Santa is not coming to see me.”

I Wish was next, and was arguably the best song of the evening. The number showcased the wide range of Reavis’ vocals, going from melodic to screaming, wearing his emotions figuratively on his sleeve.

(Credit: S Toale / MIMC)

The almost sludge-like heaviness of the instrumental Awakening created a cacophony of aural goodness that transitioned seamlessly into Spawn of Seven. Reavis easily switched from rap-like, guttural vocals to a plaintive wailing, eliciting rapt attention from the crowd.

Washing over us with bludgeoning efficiency, the millennial-inspired L.O.L. spewed forth from the band. It was hard and heavy, as were many of the songs this night. “Who’s wrong, who’s right? It doesn’t matter” took on deep meaning with many of the assembled audience.

Reavis next introduced the band, going so far as to call Trumpy “my cuddly teddy bear,” with laughter emanating from the crowd, before the warm strains of Sympathy enveloped us. He showed a softer side to his vocals, practically crying “God, I need you…” The band was tight, embracing the mature subject matter of the lyrics and adding poignancy to the number.

They increased the pace, launching into Final Breath, with Dale’s kick drums feeling like they were repeatedly punching you in the solar plexus. Once again, Reavis showed an emotional maturity with his vocals.

(Credit: S Toale / MIMC)

Upon its conclusion, he implored the crowd to take the time to “pick up a small Christmas gift and drop it off at a group home, because those kids won’t get much of anything.” This sentiment stems from the time he spent with kids in group homes before forming A Killer’s Confession.

The band got in everyone’s face, figuratively speaking, with 1080p. The song carried a weightiness to it, juxtaposing the guttural lyrics with melodic vocals in the bridge and chorus of the song, making it a standout number.

With the crowd hanging on every word from Reavis, the band finished the show with the mid-tempo Angel on The Outside. While one could easily feel the pain in his voice, there was almost a feeling of redemption coming back to him from the crowd. Essentially, it was the perfect song to conclude the evening with; melodic and poignant, yet still hard-hitting and heavy.

I, for one, am very interested to see and hear what Reavis and the band will do as a follow-up to “Unbroken.” The growth of Reavis is plainly evident with the material and subject matter on this album, with their live show adding wonderful context to the songs.

Ed. –  We had a lengthy chat with Waylon Reavis and will have an in-depth story from that conversation later this week.

Credit all images: S Toale / Music In Motion Columbus

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Setlist

  1. Intro
  2. A Killer’s Confession
  3. Rebirth
  4. Reason
  5. I Wish
  6. Awakening
  7. Spawn of Seven
  8. O.L.
  9. Sympathy
  10. Final Breath
  11. 1080p
  12. Angel on The Outside