Review: Knoll – Intercise
UNERRING PORTRAYAL, INEXPLICABLE UGLINESS
Disgusting, I can’t believe they’ve gone and done this. I’m reaching right back to February here to do my due diligence and experience a band that I’ve seen endless talk about online because all 34 members of Knoll are on twitter in the metal circles and now in my shameful circle. Everyone I know has talked about them at some point. Knoll this, Knoll that. Knoll is like Metal Twitter’s newborn baby that Metal Twitter compulsively shares photos of and milestones, “Oh look, Knoll is walking, oh now they’re crawling, uh oh Knoll are grinding death now it’s the terrible twos”.
Despite being a fresh band of kind youths they’ve released an abhorrent LP, a split and a live album to date, which is an impressive output for a year just past half done. I am listening specifically to Intercise to see where it all began, from where impressions were left. Now this is truly experimental grindcore, because almost every track is over the two minute mark. Groundbreaking. One song even gets close to 7 minutes, bringing the entire thing to just over half an hour. That’s a really long time to hold this much intensity without offering any kind of respite or safety—it’s irresponsible really. It’s also good enough that you might as well listen to the whole thing. If you enjoy grindcore as a genre for its hostility, then you’re in for a force feeding of just that.
There’s a healthy presence of death metal, black metal and even a sprinkle of technical blackened progressive cosmic dissonant death metal in the mix that I found delightful amongst the harsh noise grind terrain. It alternates between various heavy vocal stylings from ridiculously high pitched screaming to all kinds of low ass grunts and growls. There’s a lot done to try and keep it as spicy as possible for the duration of 5 regular grindcore albums but ultimately, for some, the harsh noise element may be a barrier. I personally couldn’t imagine being born so feeble of heart and soul, but I know some people very much are. The noise especially factors in towards the end of the album where the whole thing feels like it unravels into a fucked up anti-music mess with the tracks “Myr” and “Fjord Peaks”. A final blow to the eardrum. Fans of Full Of Hell will be all over this like a slip and slide adventure, grinning ear to ear.
I don’t often talk lyrics when it comes to grind bands because a lot of the time I don’t think about them, and they are usually bad and cringe, or based and cringe, or violent and cringe. Knoll however, has legitimately written poetry oozing with imagery and fancy words. There’s words I don’t even know the meaning of. It’s so dense I had to google some shit just to get an idea of what landscapes and horrors exactly to imagine. I literally don’t know what half of this is but go off I guess.
“Desideratum of declension abound
A debility of our sprout
Invulnerable wilt of time
Penitent terrene ponders, to arrive at but a whim
Amnemonic plentitude, bellowing onward
Suasious, aculeate, thy omittence of omen
Mollient curtain of ignorance
Pour forth mirth
These words are from the track “Gracian Axiom” which is also the track I quoted at the top of this review. I adore the amount of effort and the level of cryptic meaning behind the themes of this album. I don’t know what it is with this new generation of metalheads who saw death grind and said “Yeah this is cool, but what if it was heavier and weirder” and then we all looked at them and said “Well that wouldn’t even be music anymore, that sounds fucking stupid” but then it was insanely good, popular even. And then to find out they’re actually “singing” about mollient curtains and amnenomic plentitudes? Next. Level.
If any of this experimental grinding noise sounds appealing to you, and you like music about internal organs and dying star systems, then go on over the Knoll merch table and grab yourself some of their shirts or their music, available on the SUPERIOR audio format of cassette. Don’t even respond to this part of the review, I know how rabid you anti-tape bros are online. We get it, it’s too “temporary”. Well life is temporary, everything is fleeting and meaningless, even the biggest most meaningful thing you know, so might as well buy cool-looking rectangles.