Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Simplicity and brutality go hand-in-hand, particularly in heavy music. Sometimes a simple chunky, meaty riff is all that you need to fuel your fire. Two genres in particular that hold these elements well are hardcore and death metal. Both genres hold that ethos of making music that feels like a real gutpunch.
That leads us straight to this review. Year of the Knife is a straight-edge hardcore band from Delaware, and this is their debut full-length album. I was introduced to this band via the hate5six YouTube channel after I saw their set at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on 7/28/2018. I was quite blown away. Their set was a visceral, brutal, and an unhinged display of metallic hardcore savagery. So with that in mind, lets dive into Internal Incarceration.
If there's a great way to describe this album, it would be aggressive, emotional, and highly memorable. Aggression is on display throughout the entire 31 minutes of this album, but in very differing styles. With songs like "This Time" and "Virtual Narcotic," you get these short, savage, and feral hardcore bangers but with plenty of grindcore-influence to make you want to freak. But with songs like "Stay Away" and " Internal Incarceration," you get strong classic nu-metal vibes, à la self-titled Korn, but without sacrificing the brute force of the hardcore side of the band. The latter song in particular has a really strong vocal line courtesy of vocalist Tyler Mully. The cadence of the first verse is so rhythmic and catchy that even if you can't understand the lyrics, the vocal phrasing is so extremely memorable.
But a few songs I need to take special notice of are "Premonitions of You," "Manipulation Artist," "Sick Statistic," and "Eviction." These tracks continue with the trademarks of this album, but they're played with such a gusto and passion that it automatically makes these songs so easy to come back to and listen to over-and-over again. "Sick Statistic" in particular is the major highlight. The death metal elements on this album are almost reinforced to the max on this song in particular. "Eviction" is an absolutely filthy song. It's crusty, menacing, and hellish. There's this really dread-inducing atmosphere that envelopes this whole entire song. That could also be said for the whole album as well.
I don't typically talk about lyrics in most of my reviews. I'm a music listener who tends to focus more on the instrumentation, but I really want to talk about them here. The lyrical themes that come with this album are truly heartbreaking, and need to be praised more. Most of the songs on this album deal with the struggle with addiction, manipulation, depression, and various other similar topics. Vocalist Tyler Mully screams these lyrics with such emotion and conviction, but with a psychotic and deranged edge too. He employs a lot of typical hardcore screams, a hefty dose of growls, and some more unhinged higher register screams as well. His vocal styling really lends well with the atmosphere of this album, he's definitely a shining star on the album.
It goes without saying, but Year of the Knife absolutely killed it on their debut album. This album is a savage display of various genres of extreme music thrown into a hardcore frame of mind. I absolutely love the amount of aggression and gusto that Year of the Knife display as musicians, as well as the brutal honesty and rawness of the lyrics and emotions. I always have to praise a band for doing so because that takes a lot of bravery to openly discuss such topics and bare your soul out to people. So that's the moral of this album in the end. Catharsis through aggression. The only other thing I need to say is to please go out and support this band, they most definitely deserve it. This will without a doubt be one of my top albums of this year.
Congratulations to Year of the Knife! Thank you for releasing this album.
Year of the Knife - Internal Incarceration was released Aug. 7th, 2020 from Pure Noise Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!