I’ve been drowning myself in so many new release and undiscovered classics of late that I haven’t had time to sit down and do a good ol’ fashioned Bandcamp trawl. So finding myself with some free time last week I decided to go ahead and rectify the situation. The result? Knuckle Dragger.
Knuckle Dragger is a UK based hardcore/noise/math band, one of many in what has started to become a very populated genre. You know the basic formula, Distorted basslines munching along underneath a head rattling combination frantic guitar work, bowel-rupturing rhythms and a drummer fed exclusively on PCP and pop-tarts. It’s the bastard child of modern heavy music and one I can never get enough of.
“The Drone” caught my ear for a couple of reasons, most notable the heavy doses of experimentation and the brutal contrasts between genres that define their songs. These assets are further helped along by short track times, with the longest running well under the five minute mark. This gives the entire album a concise and to the point pacing, with the maximum calculated amount of aggression pumped out per minute.
As opposed to the constantly schizophrenic mentality of mathcore, all twitching limbs and frothing mouths, Knuckle Dragger keep a cohesive groove the whole time, albeit the kind of groove you wouldn’t want to leave small children alone with. Sharp, convulsing punctuations of noise staggering down a back alley just waiting for someone to look them in the eye.
The album is interlaced with brief periods of experimental breathing room, from Doppler effect feedback, a brief period of clean guitar picking, odd vocal samples and a constant flirtation of the noise/music line. Quickly crushed back into form by the ever-present brutality, these brief interludes make the return to violence that much sweeter. All of these is underlined by what seems like an asylum escapee on vocals, who provides everything from blood curdling screams to saliva-spraying growls.
“The Drone” is a perfect example of the bastardization of genres that has become a defining feature of today’s music. Unhinged and unrestrained insanity that challenges many to find out how far they can take the difference between music and noise. For those voyeuristic few, all your links and streams are below.