From the moment opening track ‘Leet‘ kicks in, this album is a bewildering and brilliant beast, an unholy marriage of the tectonic movements of Botch, the playfulness of Keelhaul, and the loose feel of Baroness.
Why aren’t Knut huge? I suppose there is that slightly annoying release schedule, which probably means there wont be another Knut album for another seven years, and there’s the fact that they don’t exactly have a rock-star look to hang on, but they are fucking good at what they do that it beggars belief that they are not talked about in the same way as the bands I mentioned above. I suppose that fame, even the relativistic levels achieved by obscure metal bands, is a fickle creature, not bestowing itself on the most worthy, but the lucky ones.
So, how best to describe this album? It’s crushingly heavy, but with a lovely loose feel to the production that feels totally live. There’s the vibe of a bunch of guys keeping time by keeping eye contact, rather than playing to a metronome. That feeling of vibe is an important one too, since Knut are just as adept at creating the likes of ‘Ultralight Backpacking‘ which is like an Old Man’s Gloom song being fed through a time-change machine periodically, or the Pelican-esque ‘If we can’t fly, we’ll take the boat.’
But then there are also the full on hardcore attacks like ‘Lemmings‘ or ‘Damned Extroverts‘, where Knut again show themselves to be the best of Botch‘s descendants at taking that riff heavy blueprint and warping it, folding it in on itself again and again until everything threatens to collapse under the sheer weight of complexity, but somehow never quite does. And they can string out a riff to near breaking point, as they do on ‘Fast Forward Bastard‘ before then finding the gears again and finishing with a flourish of riffs that would have Mastodon scratching their heads.
Even after a good 20 or so listens to this album, I still find myself taken aback by it. It really never sits still long enough for you to get a handle on it, which makes you want to delve into it deeper and deeper to unwrap the mysteries within. In a year of some epically strong album releases, this may well be good enough for Knut to finally get the kudos they deserve.
Oh, and since I couldn’t find any videos for this album, here’s a rather enjoyable old video of them playing ‘H-Armless‘ onstage with all of ISIS.
H/Armless Live W/ Isis