Open mouthed, bewitched and gasping for breath is not a regular occurrence despite having the honour to hear so many impressive and thrilling encounters at The RR but that is exactly how Interstice from Kneel left us. It is an album which devoured attention as it engulfed the senses, a cauldron of sound and craft which preys on ears and imagination like few others.
Kneel is the solo project of Pedro Mau (ex-Kneeldown, Wells Valley) and Interstice a collection of creative traps written between 2011 and 2013 and now re-released in 2019 through Pulmonary Records. Offering nine maelstroms of hardcore, mathcore, and thrash metal, though that truly only suggests at the full body and diversity of the album, Interstice is as fresh, adventurous, and unique as anything heard in recent times or is likely to be embraced this year. Upon the release, Mau is joined by vocalist Filipe Correia (Wells Valley, Concealment) but everything else about the album is all its Portuguese creator; an artist leaving no stone of unpredictability unturned and layer of creative risk unexplored.
As the album’s opening track swiftly reveals, Mau’s songs are as virulently infectious as they are almost barbarously bold and unconcerned with expected structures and boundaries. Murmurs immediately exploded on the senses, rhythms plundering their welcome with almost toxic prowess as guitars uncaged their own caustic squall. Already though there is an instinctive swing to it all, an inviting lure which only blossoms further as nagging grooves and prowling beats greet the calmer twist of the track just as Correia’s feral tones erupt. Magnetism lines every moment, attention and appetite soon gripped by the drama and enterprise making up the track’s numerous and connected snares. Equally quickly it proves hard to offer up a reference to give a clear clue to the sounds conjured by Mau, but in some ways the likes of Meshuggah, Converge, Daughters, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Coilguns make good hints to the fascination of Kneel.
The outstanding start is easily backed by Amend, its initial surge hardcore shaped but again soon the kaleidoscopic prowess of the project’s sound unravels as too the senses before its inspiring trespass. Wires of guitar swarm around rhythmic predation and already subservient ears; the track only increasing its slavery as its body writhes with fresh and unique spirals of textures and sound, a sonic vortex just as vibrant and viral within the barbarous assault of Occlusion. Straightaway it violently ravages, never diluting its marauding as it breaks through new nagging enterprise and imagination harassing ideation; Correia equally as uncompromising and compelling within the vicious tempest.
Lessening stalks and ransacks the senses next, Mau’s infernal grooves proving irresistible and melodic dissonance corrosive around rabidly biting rhythms while the two minutes of Absence simply haunts the imagination from its increasingly darkening void. The track allows a long needed breath to be taken, at least for its first half as it subsequently erupts with its own sonic cancer before Cloak dances on expectations with its quick footed dynamics and rapier like incursions. As within every track though, nothing can be taken for granted, its body an edacious helix of imagination and craft.
Both Debris with its flesh snagging jaw and jagged textures and the creative tyranny of Thrall simply gripped and squeezed greater eager attention upon Interstice, each an inescapable maze of skill and nonconformity which if we admit they did not quite match up to their predecessors tells how stunning those earlier tracks.
The album closes up with Sovereignty, a slab of cacophonous rock ‘n’ roll cast upon another hungrily engrossing emprise of convulsing textures, lustful craft, and rapturous imagination. Interstice is a rhapsody of sound, certainly one as vicious and fearsome as it is enthralling but a challenge which takes the listener to new brave and exciting places.
Interstice is out now via Pulmonary Records @ https://pulmonaryrecords.bandcamp.com/album/interstice
Pete RingMaster 01/06/2019
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