An Interview with Killstreak

Killstreak is a band from Cleveland, Ohio currently writing modern metal songs about video games! Recently, they have dropped two songs: the first called “No Scope,” about Call of Duty, and ”The Fall of Reach,” about Halo. It was an absolute pleasure interviewing the four piece metal band and learning about their craft, as well as their relationship with video games. With the release of Metal: Hellsinger, and success of Doom: Eternal’s soundtrack, what better time to learn about the genre’s long standing relationship with games through this band’s music?

Killstreak consists of Sam McCartney (Vocals), Ryan Katz (guitar), Kyle Miner (Bass), and Robert Bendel (Drums).

Seasoned Gaming: Could I have you guys tell me a tiny bit about Killstreak and how you guys came together?

Ryan: So we’ve all been in different bands in the area, and we all were looking for something that aligned with all of our tastes, but, also, we wanted a good group of people that had their priorities, finances, and ambitions together to do something serious but unique. I was recently in another band, which was great, but it wasn’t really the genre of music I was passionate about. Anyway, I have had back issues my whole adult life, and Sam’s wife is a massage therapist, so I started going to her location to get work done, and one day she mentioned that her husband was a metal singer. I finally pulled the trigger and asked for his info to meet up. Sam and I hit it off quick! We both love video games, and we both wanted to do something with both lyrics and a theme that people would gravitate towards and would recognize. We wanted to write about games that we love, adding in our own Easter eggs and graphics in our music and theme. When we found Robert and Kyle, who were also in bands in the area, they were just as onboard as Sam and I were, and everything just made sense.

Seasoned Gaming: When it comes to writing music, how do you guys decide what game will be the topic of a song? What does your writing process look like?

Sam: So, for our first song we picked something that we thought others would recognize immediately.

Robert:  We really wanted to test the waters and see what the response would be to our concept with a popular game like Call of Duty. Considering “No Scope” is almost at 200,000 streams, I’d say we did alright so far!

Ryan: Like Robert and Sam said, we went with Call of Duty because who hasn’t played the game or heard of it? It has a huge fanbase, esports dedicated to it, and it just made sense. Then with Halo, it was the same thing. Because we aren’t quite an established group in the genre yet, we thought it would be much harder to start with an ambiguous game or a game that’s just more niche. We really wanted to make sure our audience understood our theme first before we got into nostalgia and games very personable to us. Now that we have Call of Duty and Halo, as well as a couple other ones coming up, we plan on getting to more of our personal tastes in terms of favorite games in the coming releases.

Sam: So for our writing process, first we pick our theme or game, and for the first EP that we’ve been working, we’ve already got that picked. From there, we take the ambiance of what that game entails and the vibe you kind of get from that game. So like with Call of Duty, we needed to be tactical, and Halo is more spacey, with Gregorian chants and other SFX. The next one…oh my gosh I hope you’re ready, because it’s going to be extremely heavy, and I am hyped for it!

Ryan: So essentially that’s how that goes, the sound absolutely needs to match the game. We couldn’t just write a beatdown song for Halo; I mean, it could work, but we wanted to make sure we really captured the game well. It’s gotta be recognizable from a lyrical standpoint, so when our audience puts on the song, or they watch the music video, because you know – we’re very particular about the treatment of those, the song has to resonate entirely as a full package. But to really break down our process: each of us had a hand in writing the songs. All of us are there, especially since we all have so much to offer, creatively and in a group. We will usually start with me writing an intro, then we build on that as a group. I could be thinking the song is going one way, and by the end of our session, it’s gone a completely different direction in the best way possible. All of us really handle our instruments in the writing process, and we all give input. For example, Sam doesn’t just write the lyrics and say these are the lyrics. He’ll ask us if this portion makes sense, especially if it’s a game he’s not super experienced with. Gamers are super particular and can be very picky people, understandably so. We just want to do our concepts justice for our audience and ourselves.

Seasoned Gaming: So what are some of your favorite games? What all are you playing now? Or looking forward to in the future?

Sam: I am a huge Zelda nerd all the way through. They just announced the new game Tears of the Kingdom with a release date, and I am psyched out of my mind to play that. I’ve been waiting so long for another title, and to be honest, anything Zelda I am all about Zelda, Zelda, Zelda.

Ryan: Did you mention Zelda?

Sam: Zelda, Zelda. I mean other than that, I really love Nintendo games like Mario and other titles outside of that, like Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, you know that kind of deal. But yeah…Zelda.

Kyle: So I just got a Nintendo Switch. I’ve been playing a lot of games on that. Especially Super Smash Brothers and Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond, and yeah…I’ve been playing the crap out of that. It’s been super addicting and very nostalgic because Pokemon: Diamond was my first Pokemon game. I was a little late to the party, but it’s cool! Other than that I’ve been playing a lot of Star Wars: Battlefront II; that’s just a little bit of what I’ve been doing.

Robert: My biggest thing growing up was Dark Souls. I’ve put way too much time into that. Currently, I am still messing with Elden Ring. I think I need to quit messing around and just look up a guide, but aside from that, I play State of Decay 2. I really enjoy the open world zombie type stuff.

Ryan: So I am a weirdo – I only play games when the weather sucks because I love to be outside for most of my summer, but in the winter, I am a game-a-holic. What I play the most is Magic the Gathering: Arena. I’ll play that for like six to eight hours a day – it is a bit ridiculous. I am really into incentive-based games, reward-based games because they are so addicting. I do try to dabble into Call of Duty every year; it just depends on how good or bad the entry is. Sometimes, I’ll get stuck on one for awhile, and others I will try it and move on. I do also play Halo: Infinite and the new Madden, which is always fun. As far as classic games go or my favorite game of all time – it’s really obscure but seriously amazing – is Dungeon Keeper 2. Also, I am really into Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and I find it way better than Skyrim.

Seasoned Gaming: If you guys could write a song to be included in a game’s sound track, what would it be?

Ryan:  I look at things so differently, so I’ll ask: what’s the biggest game? Because I want our music to reach as many people as possible, compared to what game I would I like to write about the most, because that’s a different answer. Honestly, though, I think my answer would be the new Grand Theft Auto. Imagine driving down the road, rampaging, listening to one of our songs (don’t try this at home). That would be so sick.

Sam: You know…it would be Zelda, but I don’t think the creators would really vibe with our type of music in a Zelda game. Grand Theft Auto 6 would be pretty sick if you could hear our stuff come over the in-game radio.

Kyle: You know, I’m not really sure; Ryan said it best. But if I could choose, I don’t know if anyone has ever heard of Killing Floor? That game has like Impending Doom in it, so I could really see our music doing well in it. Just like an extreme shooter with a heavy soundtrack.

Robert: I can’t get my mind off of how an Assassins Creed take might sound like. Imagine hearing that while sailing or running along buildings. To me, that just sounds a really cool place for it.

Kyle: Just another couple thoughts, a Cyberpunk game would be really cool too, and Dying Light! Imagine getting in a really stressful situation, and you just hear Deathcore creeping up in your ears as you slay zombies. Honestly, that would be pretty sweet.

Seasoned Gaming: You talked about your writing process earlier and how the process can often deliver unexpected results. When you all started Killstreak, how did you imagine you’d sound, and how would you describe what genre of metal you guys are after dropping two singles?

Ryan: You know, if I had to be honest, I’d say we are a very dynamic version of deathcore, if I try to be self aware. I love so many styles of modern metal, and deathcore specifically. If I had to compare ourselves to anyone, I’d say we’re pretty close to a band like Chelsea Grin, simply because they adopt other styles of subgenres in their music, whereas with other bands, it’s a lot of brutality start to finish with not a lot of instrumental dynamics or vocal dynamics. We really want to be super accessible to people that may not listen to deathcore, so we try to be diverse.

Robert: Also, when you’re thinking about gaming like we were talking about earlier, you’re going to have gamers that want to listen to clean vocals and screams, so it’s really important that we capture all of those dynamics.

Sam: I really just prefer screaming, which you guys will hear on our next single, but I agree with what Ryan and Robert said.

Seasoned Gaming: When’s the next time we can expect another song? Or the release of the EP?

Ryan: I want to say before the end of the year. Around the holidays, I would say.

Sam: It’s going to be very brutal!

Killstreak has their songs “No Scope” and “The Fall of Reach” out on all streaming platforms now, with more songs to come, and a full EP release for 2023. If you love video games and especially modern metal, check out their music!

By American Psycho

I am a proud father, and a United States Marine Corps Veteran with a passion for gaming. All around I am a big geek with interests in horror, comics, and metal music. I mostly play on PS5 and PC, while gravitating to horror games, and single player RPGs. I am also a content creator for the gaming community Regiment and help fundraise for many different Veteran benefit organizations such as Stack-Up, Veteran's Puppy for Life, and Shellback Tech. You can find me avidly tweeting at

Let Us Know What You Think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

%d bloggers like this: