Knife the Glitter – Knife the Glitter (2017) REVIEW

The story of Knife the Glitter is one of lost momentum and perhaps greater opportunities arising atop inconvenience. Their original inspiration lead them down the path of technical mathcore and grind permutations that took off in the mid 00’s as bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Between the Buried and Me, and Psyopus began elevating the mathcore of Botch into the realm of technical extreme metal. By 2006 the band had finally stumbled out a fully formed EP to the tune of ‘Breakfast Time’ and between the name of the band and the silly hand-drawn cover art it almost seemed like the band were trying to sabotage themselves. The style had the twisted fury of Locusts and the atmospheric intensity of Psyopus down pat despite a revolving door of vocalists. Again, things fell apart.

So, how did we go from psycho tech grinding Botch-core to fully instrumental jazzy progressive math-metal? From what I gather practical life priorities and a handful of messy vocalist issues. But the story is nowhere near a tragedy upon hearing their self-titled album, finally complete after eight years of slow progress. On their debut/swan song Knife the Glitter does for prog-death/mathcore what Blotted Science did for progressive death metal back in the day on “Machinations of Dementia”, offering synapse defying instrumental variations on a theme at a level transcending the current standard.

That isn’t to say that these musician’s stints in forward thinking bands couldn’t have had an influence on the final product’s tightly wrapped exterior. Drummer Eli Litwin’s time with the brutal, technical death patterns of John Frum (feat. ex-Dillinger Escape Plan, The Faceless) didn’t rub off here as his style is far closer to DEP’s ‘Dissociation’ than anything else. In fact guitarist Kevin Antreassian played on ‘Dissociation’  so folks with interest in that album should be happy with the urgent, almost psychedelic technical sync of the guitar and drum performances.

The lack of a vocalist has been a sore spot for me with many albums these last couple of years. Between the yawning The Chasm re-animation and the underwhelming Insect Ark records of late I didn’t really want to wrap my head around another voiceless basin of progressive instrumental metal. Knife the Glitter have the unique benefit of being a progressive mathcore outfit that almost completely ignores djent riff trends and vocals. So, what the band have omitted from their vision didn’t fit with my own sub-genre worldview anyhow, thus I was well-pleased by it’s crisp sound and varietal, forward pressing vision. For every dizzying wall of chug and pretty jangling respite the band runs out of steam a bit by the time “The Plum Curtain” shows up and if it wasn’t followed by the exceptional, mind-melting “Permanent Baby Snowpants” I would have likely shut it off after the first spin. Just as I felt the exhaustion creep in, the last few tracks incorporate 80’s keyboard synth, violins, math-rock, and a very ‘We Are the Romans’ endpoint.

I don’t think Knife the Glitter totally broke the mold before they broke up but this goodbye is the best possible “Adios” they could have left behind. It celebrates an enormously talented progression beyond their stylized math-grind beginnings into prog-metal worth performance and leaves me kinda disappointed that Knife the Glitter never found a die-hard vocalist or the right circumstances to continue working together.

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Artist Knife the Glitter
Type Album
Released December 22, 2017
BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp! Follow Knife the Glitter on Facebook
Genres Mathcore, Progressive Metal, Instrumental

Soiled Wagon Aches. 3.75/5.0

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