Thursday, 22 March 2018

REVIEW: Knaaves, "January" [EP]

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 20/02/2018
Label: Independent

“January” is a defiant hardcore manifesto that feels unrelenting from literally the first five seconds out of the gate.

“January” DD track listing

1. January
2. Nine Lives Lost

The Review:

Although it is hard to call the two-song "January" an EP, Milwaukee's Knaaves emerge with a bellicose stance and plenty of reasons to keep an eye out for this viscerally tantalizing four-piece.

While the band is not exactly a supergroup, Knaaves has several explosive regional performers in its midst. It may be best known for the inclusion of Amanda Daniels. Bassist Daniels formerly played in hardcore act Enabler, which gained traction not too long ago. She departed the group in 2015, alleging physical and sexual abuse by former boyfriend and Enabler's chief songwriter and vocalist Jeff Lohrber. Dustin Albright, who toured with the band, issued a long Facebook statement then backing up Daniels' claims, including assaults he'd witnessed. Lohrber went on the offensive after Daniels' story broke, virtually denying the accusations and claiming a witch hunt against him. Shortly thereafter, however, Enabler dissolved into indefinite hiatus land. A few years may have passed, but it is evident Daniels' formidable bass work is as transcendent as ever.

The title song is a defiant hardcore manifesto that feels unrelenting from literally the first five seconds out of the gate. There are likely a dozen apt and favorable comparisons one could make to this sort of intensity. Suffice to say Knaaves represent themselves on the opener quite well. Andy Parmann is a volatile frontman, caterwauling hard against the jagged guitar riffs of Jamie Kerwin. Kerwin grabs you with his musicianship throughout, in fact; blistering chords at the start of the song melt into a wailing, anguished conclusion.

Drummer Antonio Ninham is also going to catch your ear on "January." He punctuates both songs from the beginning, and interpolates fast, aggressive beats with melodic playing that blends effortlessly into Daniels' bass lines. "Nine Lives Lost" showcases the experience in Knaaves' narcotic rhythm section, with Daniels blasting charcoal-black thickness to the music and reminding you why she's been appreciated for so long as a musician. Knaaves make the most of this song, which stays within hardcore conventions mostly, but still manages to be subversive and dystophic in the presentation.

Your only complaint is that these abrasive selections are quite scorching, and you want to know what else Knaaves has in the tank for more than two songs. There is much to like about "January" though. Now let's have the full-length.

“January” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook