Knoll – Metempiric (Review)

Knoll - MetempiricThis is the second album from US grindcore band Knoll.

Metempiric is a 34-minute shot of feral adrenaline. It is rare I come across grindcore these days, and even rarer for it to be good. It’s a great style when done right, and a lazy, boring one when not. Suffice to say, Metempiric is one of the best grind releases I’ve heard in what seems like forever.

Knoll’s grind is dark and savage. It has an abrasive surface and a hostile heart. The songs are largely brief and energetic, spinning out of control with furious riffs and punishing attitude. Mathcore frenzy, deathgrind brutality, and hardcore intensity combine into songs that hit the spot.

The harsh aggression of the band’s core style is built upon with infrequent layers that augment the music well, taking it to ever darker places. Fragments of ambient, atmospheric, noise, avant-garde, and electronic components pepper the release, adding texture and depth to its violent delivery. These elements certainly don’t form the bulk of the material here, but are used strategically to enhance the rest of the music. It makes a difference, and there are some really malevolent moods on Metempiric. My only complaint is the extended drone outro to final track Tome, which goes on for far too long and ends the album with a fizzle, rather than a bang.

Vocally we get a well-performed mix of serrated screams that can cut through steel and deep growls that swallow all light. Yep, ticks the right boxes for me.

You can hear a clear Full of Hell in influence in Knoll’s sound, but there’s more than just hero-worship going on here. With a mathier delivery, echoes of other notable bands, (Pig Destroyer, Weekend Nachos, Unyielding Love, Labrat, Wake, Vermin Womb), and plenty of its own personality, Metempiric is a brutally satisfying and enjoyable album from start to finish.

Very highly recommended.

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