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Thursday 1 December 2022

Reviews: Knim, Jade, Katapult, OmegaThrone (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Knim - When A Star Falls (Self Released)

When A Star Falls is the full length debut album from West Yorkshire band Knim. An album as introspective as it is sprawling, heavy as it is melodic, there's a big whack of bands like Mastodon and Baroness who have that emotionally heavy style of prog metal. The album deals with loss of love, magic, dream, isolation and betrayal, the brooding Tool-like groove of Elysium draws you into the dark world of Knim, the creeping drum patterns of Peter Nicholson locking down with the slithering bass of Andrew Mawer, who takes the Geddy Lee position, playing bass, synths/keys and singing. 

His vocals coming from the Maynard James Keenan style of emotion meets rage. This rhythm section shows their skill across the epic 5 tracks, Dennis Berry's urgent, distorted, reverb drenched guitar playing exploding out of your speakers. At times working with and others in opposition to the rhythmic grooves. Berry also adds synths, a song like Pathways, an unnerving, industrial, interlude with some spoken words that build atmosphere for the echoing doom of The Incongruity Of I, a chugging, undulating, psychedelic number with some grunge fuzz. 

In opposition When A Star Falls, is a lilting, fluid, melodic track the synths dancing over the acoustic guitars, but with a sense of melancholy that takes us into the familiarity of their debut single A Prisoner On The Seas, the progressive force of this track, closing things here but you can definitely understand how it would have built expectation for this album. 

Produced skilfully and organically by Ari Rannus, When A Star Falls is a seriously impressive debut that peels away it's layers with repeated listens. If downcast, prog metal is high on your list then I suggest you check out Knim. 9/10

Jade - The Pacification Of Death (Pulverised Records)

A debut full length that has builds upon their 2019 EP, The Pacification Of Death is a complex, heavy record that brings together several extreme metal genres, this German/Catalonian trio playing an all consuming style of atmospheric death/doom which pays homage to bands such as Celtic Frost, Bölzer and even Primordial. 

A dense record of excellent extreme metal, the sulphurous growls and echoed chants from J intertwine as his crunching bass creates a cavern of misery for the guitars of A. to linger in when they slow but then burst out of when they kick into higher gear on tracks such as Dragged Fears & Drowned Bones, the drumming of M. bringing blast beats as well on the black metal assault of Emanation Of Decay but also has an adroit style when they go in to the downcast moments. 

A forceful record that clocks in over 40 minutes, it has some vital moments such as the ominous synths that puncture Silk Ransoms, or the blast beating mayhem of Ghastly Eyes, anyone that has ever delved into the more atmospheric style of death/doom will be enthralled by every minute of this debut album, ferocious and forthright with a broad soundscape, The Pacification Of Death is a great introduction to the next chapter of extreme metal sounds from Jade. 8/10

Katapult - Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes' (Discouraged Records)

Swiss/Swedish thrash now as Katapult, Florian Moritz and Johan Norström the founders of this viseral, riff hungry thrash band, joined by Joel Purificacion, Felix Bacher and David Stutzer they have now released their debut album which is a modern thrash metal record that gets as much from Machine Head as it does Slayer. 

Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes blends the aggression with a take no prisoners attitude in the lyrics and the styles too as Sweetheart Come has the darkness of Rammstein, but Comfortably Dumb is nasty, hardcore, vegan thrashing. There's speed metal hooks on Nihilism For The Gods, as Invite The Sin comes from doom. Musically very broad, it's a a little like some of the most recent Machine Head records where no styles are left in turned as they bring in additional vocals, percussion, pedal steel, Hammond, violin, cello, and orchestral arrangements to add layers to these songs, taking many of them away from being just straight up thrash. 

Singing two songs in German too helps with this as well. Katapult try to be similar to bands such as Voivod with some progressive thrash and as time goes on they will hopefully become as revered, however for me Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes is just thrash with some not always noticeable additional trappings. 6/10

OmegaThrone - There's No Hatred As Great As Dictator's Love: Prelude To Empire (Self Released)

Influenced by 80's/90's extreme metal OmegaThrone sound Swedish but are actually Scousers. The new EP from Liverpool band, who got to final of the North Wales M2TM and have supported Malevolent Creation and Wode, strays with some static radio broadcasts of famous dictators and I'll admit my heart sank a little as I wondered if they were going to keep the production raw like so many bedroom black metal bands however as soon as Cancellation kicks off properly, the production is actually one of the best parts of this EP. 

Clear and loud, you do lose the drums of co founding member OmegaP in the low end when co-founder OmegaM carves up the down tuned riffs along with Charlotte Rogers' bass. She is a new addition to the band since their 2020 debut album as is vocalist Jeff Moffat who clearly comes from the Karl Willerts, Martin van Drunen and Dave Ingram school of guttural shouting. Continuing three new brutal songs There's No Hatred As Great As Dictator's Love: Prelude To Empire brings together Swedish and British death metal with ferocious aggression and blastbeats aplenty. 7/10

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