Overall Score: 5.5/10 Breakdowns: 7/10 Tempo: 6/10 Stand Out Tracks: 4/10 Pros: A non-stop hardcore assault Cons: The album all blends into one
On ‘Internal Incarceration’, Delaware based band Year Of The Knife deliver a straight-up hardcore debut record that cuts right to the point. On a record that, aside from some metal influences, knows what it is so clearly, this album lives and dies on the listener’s appreciation for their brand of no frills hardcore.
From the very jump, this album is an aural assault that does not let up. The tempo of this album is non-stop, so when there are moments where tracks are given space to breathe a little. It adds more fuel to the fire. When this album is firing on all cylinders, all elements drive forward this frantic tempo like a freight train with no clear destination in sight. It might sound like things are threatening to go off the rails, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With an album runtime of just under 30 minutes, the duration of the songs pushes forward the fast and frantic pace, allowing it to be maintained from the very start.
The vocals and lyrics on this project also drive this message through and do a good job of summarizing the sound of the album with their direct approach. There are no extraneous turns of phrase to be found here and no punches pulled. With lines such as ‘Sometimes I wish I was dead because you feel dead to me’ and a venomous ‘stay the fuck away from me’, which gives way to one of the record’s best breakdowns on track 3 Stay Away, this only confirms that the band knows exactly what they want this album to be. Recorded by Kurt Ballou of Converge and Code Orange producing fame – among a plethora of other world-beating artists – you will know whether this album is for you within the first 30 seconds.
Though this very direct approach to the album’s sound can be read as appositive, its insistence on pummeling and relentless brutality means there is little by way of dynamism. Large parts of the tracklist are hard to differentiate from others due to the constantly rolling tracks and tempo. These sections lack stand-out moments to really grab the listener’s ear and keep them coming back to this record. Aside from wanting to listen to exactly what this album provides, half-hour of non-stop hardcore, stand-out elements are hard to come by.
The directness of this album shows that Year Of The Knife know exactly what they want to do and they do it well. The other side of that is that this album is half-hour of that one exact thing. If you enjoy the first track on the record, then great news because here is 28 more minutes of it coming at you thick and fast. If you weren’t on board after that first song, then this record is not for you, plain and simple.
Year Of The Knife’s debut album “Internal Incarceration’ is out on August 7th via Pure Noise Records.