Knelt Rote- Tresspass
Few albums are as relentlessly, appallingly heavy as Trespass, the third album from Portland, Oregon spine snappers Knelt Rote. A group I'm not intimately familiar with, Knelt Rote apparently started as a Noisegrind side project for a group of well traveled Oregon musicians before metamorphosing into a new, equally savage and noisy though far less avant-garde beast. With Incantation worship having been all the rage for many years(though this seems to have begun to die down slightly), Knelt Rote have found a far more creative and chaotic way to emulate them: by mixing in and equal amount of blistering Grindcore into the tremolo-and-Doom formula of the Old New Yorkers. It's certainly an interesting concept, and one that surprisingly works despite what appears to be an oil-and-water mixture.
Perhaps the strongest aspect of Trespass is that Knelt Rote find a way to, for the most part, organically mix the two disparate styles without having songs fall into that "this part sounds like A band, this part sounds like B band" formula so many bands use. It's always impressive when an artist can instead create a synthesis, combing the essence of both styles into a single uniform approach, and throughout Trespass we see this unholy matrimony in full effect. The final track, "Catalepsy," is without question the strongest example of this union and the strongest track on the record, a dissonant and blasting track which mixes unholy Blackened riffs with relentless drumming, driving tempo and disjointed, demonic vocals to create that wondrous swirling effect that Incantation so completely mastered while moving at speeds far more reminiscent of Napalm Death or early Carcass. "Hunger" has a more Grind focused approach, bringing some Pig Destroyer-esque chaos and mildly technical riffing before transforming into another driving, Blackened nightmare. I was somewhat surprised by the complexities on display here, and like many of their peers such as Adversarial and Muknal, there is some subdued but tangible technical flourishes throughout Trespass which offer a nice contrast to the musty and murky invocations and sledgehammer blasting.
Just don't expect a ton of variety or a consistent atmosphere with Trespass. Though certain tracks stand out over others, there isn't a great deal here to differentiate the individual tracks from one another, and at times Trespass develops a droning quality that clashes with the chaotic and static-riddle madness. It's an album which can work you into a lull of concentration without ever finding a way to hook you back in, yet the loud snare often grinds against the backdrop of the coiling riffs and creates a somewhat disjointed contrast. And all this relentless brutality can at times eviscerate the strongest elements of the record: the atmosphere. Incantation did not become one of the greatest Death Metal bands, or one of the most influential, by being the most brutal or relentless band. They did it by creating an atmosphere which truly evoked a dream-like state of demonic possession, one where bathing in the madness and the nightmares made you feel the music on a different level. With all of it's fury and fire, Trespass can force you in and out of this trance in a jarring way.
Still, it's hard to find much overwhelming fault with Trespass. The sheer fact that Knelt Rote have discovered a creative and original way to take use those Incantation elements that doesn't fit into either banal worship or occult naval-gazing is worthy of praise if nothing else. You simply won't find another album which sounds exactly like Trespass, and it's an album of excessive extremes and suffocating barbarity that will not suffer survivors. If you take this album head on, be ready to search the dirt for your teeth.