Killval is a somewhat new name on my radar of rising artists, but he’s definitely a name that has been capturing my attention left and right in the past couple of months. Although he’s still completely independent and unsigned, he has built a close connection with Nick Mira of Internet Money, and anyone who’s familiar with Nick knows he only works with superstars, so that already speaks volumes of val’s talents. After hearing Dro Kenji’s latest project Tears and Pistols, which is quite possibly one of my favorite projects that has released all year, I had the highest of hopes for Killval’s album, and now that it’s in our hands, I can say with certainty that he didn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The name of the album is Romance for Madness, and it’s definitely the perfect title when you work your way throughout the project and ingest all of the feelings of love combined with the abundant themes of heartbreak that run even more rampant throughout. Throughout the 10 songs that are featured on this album, val gifts us with just under 25 minutes of emotion that can’t be easy for him to share, but he does so in such a revealing, honest manner that is as respected as it is artistic.
In the first cut “Bad Mood”, an electronic, sliding synth paves the way for a somewhat dark melody that is brought to new levels through upbeat drums and fast-paced percussion. Here, val swings his voice slightly as he rotates between singing and rapping, using his secondary vocal layers to truly stretch his notes and show off his unbelievable yet almost imperfect voice. When I say imperfect, that’s not a diss whatsoever, but there is just this natural grittiness in his notes that exudes even more passion than I can explain with words that makes it so much more compelling than it would be otherwise.
In the following songs “Only Fan”, “Sirens”, and “Sleeves”, there are various stringed instruments used such as acoustic guitars and violins that combine with pungent, thunderous 808s and crisp percussion that just seem to fit so unbelievably well with val’s demeanor. His voice carries this melancholic tone that is obvious whether he’s singing of the heartbreak in his life or other, less sorrowful topics like success and wealth, but this natural sound just captures every ounce of your attention and pulls at your heartstrings unlike anyone else in the industry.
On “Dream”, he slows things down, still using some chattering hats and claps as well as booming 808s, however, he uses this track to reach even deeper into his own soul and speak from his heart even more than ever before. Additionally, he takes the opportunity to stretch his notes even more than before, showing off his incredible talents that span even further than what can already be heard in the first half of the album. Following this record, we arrive at “Falling Down”, a song that utilizes a strong piano melody to raise the mood a bit. The vibe of this track is much more upbeat and affluent than almost every other song on the album, which is a nice change of pace, however, his lyrics still hold a sadness that juxtaposes the instrumental in a remarkable fashion.
“Bold” slows things down slightly once again before we arrive at the album’s two singles “Waiting 4 U” and “Leave Me Alone”, two records that I became completely obsessed with prior to the release of the entire project, but I’ll let you read some of my other articles on those to truly get a sense for my admiration of the singles. Finally, val ends things on a bit of a prosperous note with “Hate”, a track that seems a bit more resilient as he gets his final thoughts off of his chest and leads us out of the album incredibly.
Considering I’m still learning about Killval on a more personal level with every additional release he delivers, he truly shocked me with Romance for Madness in all the best possible ways. His emotions are on full display and he doesn’t seem to hide a single feeling because it seems as if music is his coping mechanism, so he puts it all on the table for listeners to take in and relate with. After all, I feel like especially as an up and coming artist, connecting with fans on a deeper, more humanized level goes so much further than constantly talking about designer garments, foreign cars, and million-dollar jewelry, so I think val does an impeccable job of bringing himself down to Earth in a way that will connect with fans from the moment they press play on this album. Even though he’s still unsigned, he’s doing all the right things to further his music career so it’s only a matter of time before he’s heard all over the radio and seen across the internet, but he doesn’t seem to be in any hurry, because he understands that you can’t rush your craft otherwise it’ll lose its luster. Regardless, Killval dropped off one of the best albums you’ll hear all month with Romance for Madness, making it an absolutely essential listen as soon as you find any sort of time whatsoever.