The Knell - _Harm_
(Totalrust Records, 2007)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
What if Swans -- the magnificent dark rock band -- had played metal? Would it have treaded the same murky waters as The Knell does? Most likely it would; the mutual seam lies somewhere in the amalgam of dark romanticism and the horror emanating from both bands, with each and every moment. There are many rock bands out there, but there's only one Swans; and the same goes for The Knell.

The over-crowded doom/death underground scene has desensitized the genre to grey and inconsequential ashes, a mere shadow of its virginal greatness and the awe-inducing crushing sounds of old. Just because of that, The Knell's star shines so darkly bright; a long standing band who has decided to do what it knows best -- namely deliver its brand of doom/death metal -- with utmost passion and uniqueness allowed by the constricting walls of the genre's aesthetics.

_Harm_ is an elusive beast; on the surface, it sounds like yet another of those too-many-to-count, 10-bpm's assemblies that offer nothing new, stylistically speaking: the same lower-than-the-dead-sea grunts, chunky and super-low tuned guitars, basic drum work and a minimum of cyclic and repetitive monochromatic tunes devoid of real melody.

_Harm_'s beauty unfolds within the second, third or forth spins of the disc, back to back; the doom/death-meets-funeral-doom fusion allows the band to flirt with subtle melodies -- some buried beneath the megalithic wall of sound, some more pronounced. This is what upgrades The Knell from just another death metal band who plays really, really slow, to an entity whose musical plot is as exquisite as it is brute; as celestial as it is hellish; uplifting and crushing on the same breath.

That said, precisely those who are already tired of the uninspired doom/death hybrid of today and wish to hear something unique (but are not afraid to search for this uniqueness that will dawn upon them the more they will explore _Harm_'s wonders), are encouraged to take this sonic trip through the many dichotomies offered by this excellent release.


(article published 24/8/2007)

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