Fast Rites: because sometimes brevity is fundamental.
The human brain likes familiarity and therefore it’s only natural to try to draw comparisons between bands when hearing a new one for the first time. Upon a first listen to Knoll, your brain is all but guaranteed to make a jump to Full Of Hell, and rightfully so. Both bands lean into a deep car-engine roar for production, an emphasis on noise and an approach to grind that is purely unfettered hostility. More importantly, however, they both also work to experiment and push not just their sound but that of grindcore overall.
This unhinged approach to music yields phenomenal results. “Felled Plume” opens with a riff that makes the strings sound woozy before a passage of short-circuiting robot notes and a grinding beatdown of a closer. “Marred Alb” is nearly two minutes of purely deranged instrumentation that will cause some blood vessels to pop in your brain.
But what of that experimental side, you cry? Well, “Dislimned” is essentially nothing but atmospheric noise where the only instrument to grab onto is a trumpet that sounds like it’s dying. That same trumpet has a rather mariachi-esque moment on the opening of “Throe Of Upheaval.” “Of Troth To Atom” has a weird droning sound that comes right out of Evil Dead and “Whelm” crushes and screams like a person finally giving in to defeat to smash their life apart after years of suffering. Not to mention the album closes with an eight-minute song that spends a lot of time exploring noise and atmosphere.
Sure, Knoll sounds a lot like Full Of Hell, but is that really a problem? You’re sitting here reading a Fast Rites about a grind band when we already have a series of quick-hit reviews all about grindcore called Blast Rites. Are those two things really all that different? No, they’re just two people attacking a similar subject from different angles. Full Of Hell and Knoll are similarly playing the same sport but both are winning the game with their own unique playbook.
I for one am happier than a truffle pig in Nicolas Cage’s care that there are two bands putting out experimental and hostile grind of this caliber.