Now signed with Nuclear War Now, Oregon underground enigma Knelt Rote has all but moved away from their grindcore origins and into pastures more akin to the death metal and black metal that is often associated with the label. Last album Insignificance went a long in bridging the gap to where Knelt Rote are now. The band’s third LP Trespass espouses all the hallmarks of the underground’s brutal heart as this is one of the year’s most devastating and unrelenting metal records.
Trespass is an album drenched in the bleak and sorrow, resonating an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. The record still moves at an earth shattering pace for the most part but it’s in the atmosphere that it conjures where Trespass truly writhes in the austere.
Opener Usurpation holds as merciless proof, with a sickening barrage of bile fuelled riffs and a remorseless hail of drums that are simply punishing. Most of the songs are succinct lessons in bestial death metal, like the ghastly assault of Compress but conversely, Identical is a seven minute dirge of rot. First starting with unabashedly doom passages until the halfway mark, Knelt Rote then fearlessly plunge us back into familiar breakneck punishing territory. This is an album that isn’t afraid to dip its toe into a few different sonic waters but the end result, that of ruin and wreckage, is always the same.
Knelt Rote strike a near perfect balance between devastation and atmosphere. Usually one is sacrificed for the benefit of the other but this is not the case with Trespass. The cold hopeless vibe that runs through the album is altogether affecting but meanwhile, the vocals are utterly caustic and corrosive alongside the scorched earth riffing.
This is a deeply layered album, with so much density to wrap your ears around. It, in fact, makes it difficult at times to comprehend just how heavy and vicious this record is until you’ve submerged yourself in it for several listens. Trespass is a definite feather in the cap of Nuclear War Now and should likely creep into a few end of year lists.
Trespass is available from Nuclear War Now Productions