Dusted Reviews

Knut - Terraformer

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Knut

Album: Terraformer

Label: Hydra Head

Review date: Jan. 16, 2006

Emerging from the post-hardcore wreckage of the mid-1990s, Swiss quartet Knut have never received the acclaim they deserve. While not quite approaching the accomplishments of, say, Botch or Converge (both kindred spirits), Knut’s tough-as-nails sound has proven influential and, thankfully, resilient. They record infrequently, and now tour even more seldom, but they can still produce music of great power.

Though they have refined their brutal approach over the course of several EPs and full-lengths – fashioning a nasty hybrid of the Young Gods, Converge, and Pantera, if you can believe it – Terraformer sees the band stretching beyond even some of the more psychedelic moments heard on their previous release, Challenger. Many of these new directions are explored on the multiple brief pieces that serve to pace this record: the fuzzed-out drone intro of “7.08,” the almost musique concrete of “Bollingen,” or the melancholy “Davos.” And indeed, though Knut don’t jettison what they’ve accomplished previously, a lot of these tunes come bookended with nice little electronic vapor trails.

But it’s certainly worth pointing out that, as much as the sound might be expanding, the heart of Knut’s music remains riff-rooted punishment. Consider the stripped-down efficiency of “Wyriwys,” a pummeling drop-tuned riff with vocalist Didier (they all just go by first names, with Philippe on guitar and electronics, Jeremy on bass, and Roderic on drums) shredding his vocal chords as the band chugs along with an intensity that can at times be frightening. Knut can be relentlessly heavy here, as they always have been, but without sacrificing a razor’s-edge precision: “Kyoto” and “Torvalds,” for example, are savagely twisted pieces of machinery howling out at you, all polyrhythms and chugging fury, while “Seattle” is the most whiplash-fast grind that I’ve heard from these guys, a coiling snake of a riff.

The titles, as is no doubt obvious, focus in on sites of violence, where settled orders erupt. The old-school thrash of “Fallujah” butts heads with the brief and densely packed amalgam of time-signatures that is “Genoa.” But instead of simple, pounding metal, Knut seems to be more interested in what’s left over after the onslaught. This all becomes palpable on the standout tracks heard towards the record’s end – the long “Solar Flare” is a menacing, trance-inducing slowburn worthy of Neurosis (garlanded by an intensely distorted electronics track), while “Fibonacci Unfolds” is the real electroacoustic icing on the post-hardcore cake, with a nod to Boris and Sunn 0))). Never heard of Knut? Well, this one isn’t their absolute best but it’s damn good. Check them out.

By Jason Bivins

Read More

View all articles by Jason Bivins

Find out more about Hydra Head

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.