Knut Challenger

Eight years after their formation, Switzerland's Knut releases their first domestic full-length on Hydra Head Records (their third overall), surpassing all preconceived notions of the sonic hostility Knut is capable of delivering in the process. True, the Hydra Head re-released Bastardizer and its untitled follow-up EP were corrosive amounts of hazardous and chaotic metallic noise, but despite its overwhelming onslaught, Bastardizer sounded dated (having been originally released in 1999) and the EP was but a stop-gap measure. However, with Challenger, Knut has positioned themselves to join the elite in the aggressive underground for innovative and unbelievably heavy bands. Fitting that Hydra Head has signed this band, as they bear many commonalties with label-mates Keelhaul, and the departed Cattlepress, offering abrasive, chaotic and filthy metallic noise that derives itself from hardcore, noise rock and numerous metal sub-genres, but references can also be found in the likes of Eyehategod, Coalesce, Neurosis and Isis. But while Isis and Neurosis are more cycler and organic in nature, and EHG more Southern, Knut are more linear and rigid in their constructions, but just as density-oriented. Best exemplified by the standouts "Bite the Bullet," "Whacked Out" and "H/armless," which recalls the closing oppressive despair of Eyehategod's "Anxiety Hangover." Sometimes droning and discordant, sometimes technical and intertwining, and always oppressively heavy and capable of rupturing bulkheads, Challenger is just that, to the throne of abusive music. (Hydra Head)