Multinational force Silver Knife smear bloody heart into black metal on ‘Unyielding/Unseeing’

There was a thread going around Twitter last week asking people about mostly harmless opinions people had that would get them turned away from the better part of the metal community. Isn’t there an ocean full of those? Anyway, mine would be that black metal very much is better off having advanced beyond the second wave, and you don’t have to be a satanic priest cosplayer to create it.

There have been plenty of advancements made to black metal in the past three decades, and allowing vulnerable human emotion into the music has made for an interesting tributary away from the sub-genre’s black heart. Another band coming along that path is Silver Knife, a group of musicians comprised of other bands such as Cult of Erinyes, Hypothermia, Laster, and Nusquama and are spread out amongst Belgium, Germany, and France. It’s tough to glean much else about the band other than there are four members who are identified by letter, and Jacob Buczarski of the esteemed Mare Cognitum mastered this collection, their debut “Unyielding/Unseeing.” What you find inside are movements that can be lush and heart-wrenching at one end, destructive at the other, and the themes of alienation and relentless conflict bleed through in the music and into your heart.

“Unyielding” blasts open as a melodic rush with the shrieks buried beneath the waves. The feeling and pace both are dramatic as hell, as a melodic haze works its way in, and the playing hammers away, spilling through your senses. The track wrenches away, punishing gloriously as the riffs plaster, and the song blasts off. “This Numinous Loom” has guitars lighting up the room as the wails move more up front, and hypnotic playing works into pockets of anguish. The playing floods while the ambiance gets a little darker before the mood gets a little calmer, letting cool air in before the guitars sting again and ramp up the pace. The cries rush out, the playing divebombs, and a synth swirls helps the track end in chaos. “Silver & Red” has sharp guitars and daggering cries, churning into pools of melody. The vocals echo in the distance as the bass chunks, the leads glisten with dew, and the track dissolves into buzzing.

“Unseeing” awakens with guitars flowing and synth sliding in as a female voice begins speaking, her words seeming to float in the ether. “Why does the desperate become part of the whole?” she asks as the instrumental burns out and into “Conjuring Traces” that absolutely storms the gates when it gets going. The vocals smear and hiss as the melody gets charging, while the guitars loop around and enter into a moody haze. Another eruption hurtles toward hammering punishment with a great riff unleashing itself and lighting up the sky. The heavy storming is almost impossible to see through as the playing is toppling and finishes you off with a penetrating gust. “Sundown” closes the record, coming in with guitars poking before the lid is torn off. Gut-wrenching shrieks hammer in the nails, destroying your mind before calm takes over for a spell until the fires rage again. Wild cries powder bones as the madness is poured in buckets, mental anguish ruptures wires, and a fiery collision brings the track to a cataclysmic end.

Silver Knife have a stranglehold on emotion on their debut “Unyielding/Unseeing,” and this is a band that has figured into the conversation among others that have figures out how to add bleeding human heart into black metal. This also is a great sounding, exciting collection that hopefully will get some attention, as it packs a ton of promise for a band likely just getting started. This is a hell of a first showing, a record that’ll make you divert your attention from life’s other misery, if only for a little while.

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