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Knoll – Interstice Award winner

by Thomas Kumke at 28 March 2021, 4:07 PM

KNOLL hailing from Memphis, Tennessee play experimental blackened Deathgrind. All members are still at their college-age. Their album was mixed by Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studios, Michigan and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, Chicago. “Interstice” was released via UK label Sludgelord Records which have a number of Doom Metal and Stoner Metal bands among their roster. The album has a length of more than 35 minutes. There is no official video release, however “Earth’s Iron Lung” was released as visualizer on YouTube with the link below.

KNOLL deliver an intense mix of Grindcore enriched by technical brutal Death Metal with a relatively long playing time for that genre. It is an insane ensemble of 12 songs which have an excellent mix of brutality, technicality, speed, and darkness. The album starts blisteringly fast with hammering drums and growls and screams of incredible brutality. “Callus Of The Maw” and “Gracian Axiom” are a kick-into-the-face without compromise and hesitation. While the opening songs are relatively straightforward and simple, things start getting different in “Lambent Urn”, “Impetus In Mire” and especially “Grasp”. While “Lambent Urn” continues with the pummeling, there is more technicality, blackening, and atmosphere introduced by the guitars. Especially the atmospheric layering creates a dark atmosphere and KNOLL take full advantage of their three guitars. “Impetus In Mire” maintains the atmosphere and darkness, but includes more technicality in the lead guitar sequences, something that hits its peak in “Grasp”. “Grasp” is in principle a down-tempo song with lots of discordances, twists and turns. The song ends in utter chaos and madness. At this point it should be said something about the vocals. James Eubanks delivers an outstanding mix of high-pitched screams and growls at the very low end of the gutturals. He changes frequently between both within the songs depending on the sound.

I had the impression that KNOLL found their style and the right mix of technicality, darkness, brutality and speed after those opening songs. With “Inherent Of Life” there are even some groovy elements which are added including catchy guitar riffs and head-banging rhythms. The dark and atmospheric layering remains, also in the following “Scattered Prism” but with some parts played at breakneck speed. This is the point on the album where there are seamless transitions between songs which makes it all tighter and more intense. The dissonant lead guitars reminded me occasionally on old VOIVOD classics from the late 80s.

The final three songs are the longest on the album. “Loom Of Wills” continues with the established sound but at mid-tempo with a blast-beat break in between. In “Fjord Peaks”, KNOLL let all hell break loose. The final song has a complex song-structure with frequent changes in tempo and rhythm, it keeps the darkness and the discordances and technicality of the guitars, and it includes sequences of insane speed and ear-deafening screams, followed by low growls from the abyss. A worthy finale of a successful debut album.

Interstice” is an album that is not easy to dig into. Probably either you do it or you do not. There might be nothing in between. For those who do, it is an excellent debut album by a young band. The album is a very good mix of well-known Grindcore patterns enriched by the technicality of Death Metal, some blackened, atmospheric as well as progressive elements. The three guitars offer a lot of experimental playground and the band uses this very well. All songs on the album have something unique and there is hardly any repetition which is evidence for good song writing. The album is also well produced. KNOLL release an album that will receive a lot of attention and if they can follow-up of this in the future, I am sure KNOLL will become an established force in Deathgrind and Death Metal.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. Callus Of The Maw
2. Gracian Axiom
3. Lambent Urn
4. Impetus In Mire
5. Grasp
6. Earth’s Iron Lung
7. Door To Moil
8. Inherent Of Life
9. Scattered Prism
10. Loom Of Wills
11. Myr
12. Fjord Peaks
James Eubanks – Vocals
Evan Kubick – Guitars
Ryan Cook ­ Guitars
Drew Miller ­ Guitars
Jack Anderson – Drums
Lukas Quartermaine – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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