Razor To Wrist 2012
If you’ve been coming to this site for over a decade there’s a very good chance that Knives Out! will sound quite familiar. Essentially their own mini-supergroup, they feature alumni of a handful of bands who left their own stamp on (nu) metal in varying degrees throughout the late 1990′s and early 2000′s.
Truly Knives Out! are a sum of their parts with a roster that boasts vocalist Todd Smith and guitarist Jasan Stepp of Dog Fashion Disco/Polka Dot Cadaver fame; HELLYEAH/ex-Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell; ex-Nothingface drummer Tommy Sickles and Polkadot Cadaver bassist David Cullen.
Smith‘s ever acid-damaged madness is in full display as he delves into salaciously dark territory; exorcising all the haunting croons and rabid barks you’d expect. His tunefully melodic psychosis is exacerbated greatly by the groove-laden riffs and aggressive songwriting which recall Nothingface‘s more combative moments. The buzzing rhythm section meanwhile wastes little space, continually expanding and increasing the tension.
It’s all a bit colorfully macabre and perhaps a touch dated in certain moments. But the group do deliver an enjoyable listen that doesn’t bank on nostalgia. With larger than life lyrics, some rather explosive songwriting, and an arsenal of slick, driving riffs, there’s a lot here to be enjoyed. The occasional touch of atmosphere — be it electronic or guitar-oriented doesn’t hurt either.
The main problem is that while the band have a strong formula, they rarely break from it. This means that while the songs themself individually are quite dynamic, the body of work as a whole isn’t essentially that varied.
Thus the onus of memorability often falls on the vividly unhinged lyrical content rather than the music behind it. This is somewhat of a shame as a few more dramatic tempo changes (such as that on the track “Hysteria“) would have certainly let the band leave a much deeper wound.
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