Published Jun 28, 2010This Switzerland-based band of bruisers found their sound early on and refined it fast; their angular, technical noise rock/hardcore/metal is certainly peerless (labelmates Keelhaul come close though) and done to perfection. On their last album (2005's Terraformer), the band did deviate a bit, focusing on longer, straight-ahead, more atmospheric tunes. With Wonder, they're back to their old headaches, as the first four tracks waste no time laying waste to the listener with those jagged riffs, non-stop drumming (seriously, everyone jacks off to Converge's drummer ― he's great ― but tune into this guy and be even more amazed) and perfect convergence of post-hardcore, math rock and sludge metal. It's only by the fifth track, "Ultralight Backpacking," that the band stop for a bit of a breather and bring back the oppressive simplicity and long instrumental passages they toyed with on Terraformer. But even it (at 6:42) eventually succumbs to outlandishly heavy technical outbursts, the sound that these reclusive geniuses will always return to. The most amazing part of all this is the huge line-up shuffling the band have endured since last time out, with three new members joining up, but keeping the Knut sound shockingly intact.
To me, the album is a return to your older sound. What brought about this change?
Vocalist Didier Séverin: It took us a couple years to learn to play the old stuff together and we went out on tour a few times. It's taken some time to come up with new material and figure how to bring a new Knut to life. Guitars have come back big-time on this album. For me, the album is the result of everybody in Knut 2010 contributing to the needs of the beast.
How did not having [guitarist] Jeremy [Tavernier] in the band affect things?
Jeremy left Knut because he wanted to do Mumakil full time. He was a special ingredient in the Terraformer era as the basic, true metal head. But not having Jeremy has not affected me as much as learning to live and embody Knut with three new people.
Why so long between albums this time?
Knut are free, have no agenda and come up with a new album when we feel it's ready. These periods of silence are really important for us to reenergize and replenish our inspiration. So far, we've had a typical three-year cycle between albums. The line-up changes explain the extra time it took us to come up with Wonder. (Hydra Head)