September 11, 2007 | , | 3

Knights of the Abyss, Juggernaut

Knights of the Abyss’ debut album is a pretty straightforward affair — kidney rupturing hardcore breakdowns, grinding drums, death metal riffs and a guttural vocal delivery all combine in one hell of an assault on the senses. Juggernaut doesn’t truly present anything new or innovative in the death/grind/hardcore hybrid genre, but it does deliver heavier and harder than any of the band’s peers. Built on a base of aggressive, in-your-face hardcore reminiscent of early Shattered Realm, this Arizona based quintet add in driving grindcore blasts and death metal riffing to build the feeling of the crushing depths of an abyss.

While the band’s sound can be fairly one dimensional in it’s delivery, there are instances that hint at innovation and are signs of what is possible from the band in future releases. That said, if you are simply in the mood for an aural ass whoopin’ then this disc is the only thing you need to put into your player.

The opening track is a lengthy intro that utilizes eerie keyboards and industrial static to set the mood before chugging riffs drown it all out. At about the 1:30 mark a thick, bruising hardcore breakdown hits like a ton of bricks. It’s not a bad start to the album and definitely let’s you know what to expect from the next nine tracks.

Our Emancipation
The first real song on the album, “Our Emancipation” showcases vocalist D-had’s range — mid range screams mixed with deep guttural growls. There are some big drums and evil riffing throughout this one that add to the chugging flow of the album.

Evil guitar work and a tortured scream start this one off properly. Rapid fire machine gun drumming and headbanging riffs dominate this track highlighted by a huge breakdown at the the 3:00 mark.

Hell Bent
The fast, aggressive start on “Hell Bent” sounds similar to the last track, punctuated with more tommy gun drumming and a bit of creative guitar work. There’s been a nice flow to the album thus far, even with all the moshing. And we finally have our first shredding solo of the album on this track.

I like the chaotic start to this before the band settles into the familiar chugging groove they have used so far on the disc. There are some galloping riffs and hooks in conjunction with monstrous breakdowns. Layered screams also give a bit more depth to this track.

I Pledge Agrievance
Calculated drumming and vocals get this slower starting track off like a baseball bat to the shins. Burst of rapid fire drums kick in here and there. There’s a nice bit of vocal cadence and timed blasts at about the 2:50 mark.

“Megabrain” opens up with a sick death metal guitar work before devolving into massive, brain hemorrhage inducing riffs. I like how the pace of this one seems to progressively slow as the one minute point approaches. This song is a beat down for the nervous system complete with gang vocals.

Mission: De-Evolution
The longest track on the album at just under 5 minutes, this one has a damn catchy riff running throughout. Driving drums dominate as a crusty bass line rears its ugly head. This is one dirty, raw sounding track — I love it!

Decaying Waste
A nice bit of thrash inspired riffing and drums gets the blood flowing from open wounds on this one. There’s a shift in the vocal delivery that has me thinking there was a change in lead vocals or a guest growler, but I’m not sure.

Dragon Pie
The final track has a definite metalcore vibe to it, complete with much more melodic guitar work than the rest of the album. The layered, simultaneous vocals are a nice touch and add a new element to the band’s sound — I would like to have heard a little more of this.

~ ~ ~

If you’re into death/grind bands like The Red Chord, then you’ll definitely be into this pared down, mosh happy release from Knights of the Abyss. It’s not nearly as technical as some others in this genre, but what it lacks in that area it more than makes up with sheer brute force and bludgeoning simplicity.

Favorite Tracks:
Hell Bent
Mission: De-Evolution

Additional Notes: