Despite being close to celebrating a dozen years as a band, few folk on this side of the Atlantic (and probably not so many on the other) have heard of the name, let alone the band. I myself can’t exactly say I’ve been tracking Knut since their early demos, but then again, I don’t live in Switzerland.
However obscure, their formative rhythm prowess and taught songwriting methodology are readily apparent on Terraformer, their third—yes, third—release widely available stateside.
Easily likened to Hydra Head label owner Aaron Turner’s Isis, Knut have a noticeably different perspective—more stripped down, slightly less conceptual, even sparser vocals—but they are no less distinct. Terraformer has an evenness about its tonality that would make Killing Joke sneer.
Common between their epic, drone-based compositions and transient, compact scherzos is a singularity of purpose that is rarely heard. Knut arrange their tasteful trickery with the same careful sensibility of a minimalist doom band—but they’re not a minimalist doom band. They’re Knut.
But it’s not completely serious; there’s a nice tongue-in- cheek geek sensibility that is an odd and welcome addition to a genre that generally prides itself on being insightful and wise. With tracks named “Fibonacci Unfolds,” “Torvalds,” and “Fallujah,” it’s obvious that the hyperborean act have nothing against a little goofiness.
Terraformer is a record that music geeks like and metal geeks need. If you’re either, Knut will shatter your skeletal frame and give your brain a bit to absorb, too.