Knelt Rote – Trespass

Genre: Black/Death/Grindcore | Label: Nuclear War Now!
Location: Portland, OR | Listen: Bandcamp

knelt rote trespass

Back in 2012, the Portland, OR grind machine known as Knelt Rote unleashed their third album, “Trespass.” Prior to this, the band had a couple albums and a demo under their belt, but were constantly under stylistic change. The early material was a hybrid of grindcore and harsh noise, and they found themselves incorporating more black/death metal into their sound with the sophomore album. By the time “Trespass” came out, Knelt Rote’s sound had a lot more in common with war metal than previous releases. It is extremity pushed to the absolute limits, perfected with precise musicianship, and a clear understanding of creating unsettling atmospheres.

Upon hearing this album upon its release, I was instantly hooked by how unrelenting it was. It has the same barbaric feel of Revenge, but with more attention to detail in the production, not to mention more dynamic in both the riffs and general songwriting. The riffs certainly display a competent use of fretwork, allowing them to step out the monotonous primitive cliches that most war metal bands swear by. That being said, these songs still eschew things like melody and favour chromatic chaos.

The pacing of this record is nice. Despite the fact that it’s constantly pushing the extreme, it still has an inherent ebb and flow. Blastbeats make up the majority of the drums here, but several kinds are utilized which helps distinguish things, and create a mesmerizing barrage of speed. There’s also the expected goat blasts and more simplified beats that hammer away, even down to the downright ultra slow crawl of the record’s longest song, “Identical.”

Plenty of nuances are scattered throughout the record which help keep it interesting. Pick slides, chaotic leads, rumbling bass sections, more things that help add variety and avoid making things monotonous. Furthermore, all four members of the band contribute vocals, giving a much needed dynamic to the vocals. There are plenty of parts where voices double each other, mixing together high screams and low growls. The harsh noise background of the band comes into play with some of the vocal effects, such as with end of “Hunger” where the band drops away and the vocal tracks are distorted with noise.

The harsh noise influence makes itself most apparent with the track “Interlude,” as it features some crackling noise-scapes with ominous guitars over top, giving a much needed break after the aforementioned longest track, and before they close things out with the ever so violent “Catalepsy.” This song calls back to the ominous guitar lines of “Interlude,” making this album seem much more cohesive as a whole rather than individual songs. Indeed, some of these tracks might be hard to distinguish from one another, but with all the aforementioned dynamics and nuances, it’s by no means monotonous.

“Trespass” has been in constant rotation for me since it came out. There’s not a lot of stuff in the last 10 years of this style that stands out like this does. It satisfies the need for extremity in my listening habits, but it also offers enough dynamics within its barbarity to keep me coming back. The collective resume between all the members of this band is pretty ridiculous and varied, and it’s impressive how they were able to take elements from their musical backgrounds and fuse them into something that transcends extreme music. This is the kind of extremity that can appeal to a few different niches of fans, and anyone into black/death metal, grindcore, and/or harsh noise needs this record in their collection. Much like the artwork presented in the album (which is brilliant, by the way), it looks monotonous and mechanical, but is clearly detailed when put into focus.