Hydrahead/Chrome Saint Magnus
There’s no two ways around it, Knut are GODLY. Yeah, they’ve been around a bit, but the fine folks at Hydrahead are currently helping to acquaint the public with this fact, reissuing the Swiss quartet’s 1998 LP, Bastardiser, in fancy digipak format, and also releasing their latest MCD, simply self-titled. As displayed by these two records (recorded just over a year of each other), Knut are at once difficult to safely pin down and imminently easy to get flattened by their manhole wallop: “metalcore” in the most convenient of terms, mainly through the on-the-surface synthesis of hardcore’s white-knuckled rage with metal’s piston-precise power, yet capable of a knife-juggling grace unbeknownst to the former and a primal-state murderousness not usually associated with the latter. At times, it’s fuckin’ stultifying, especially when shit’s flying everywhere all epileptic ñ and, more often, when you realize that Knut are metalcore like no other, prowling about with bloodlust like Fun House-era Stooges, only 100 times more weighty and blood-soaked. And it’s those (other) times ñ like when they lock onto the same riff for nearly 11 minutes during “Crouch,” wield a suspended-in-tar mantra with “Merge” (both from Bastardiser), or craft the climactic surge of Knut’s “You Deserve Me,” arguably the finest track between the two discs ñ when they’re prowling that Knut harness their most POWER and etch their most acidic identity, the four-song MCD perhaps slightly more engaging through better production and more (oft-kilter) groove. Like I said, godly.