Saturday, March 28, 2009


[From the SF Weekly.]

Behold the Failure (Relapse)
Say the name Knut, and most folks will think of that polar bear cub from the Berlin Zoo. A select few, though, will recall an extremely underrated post-hardcore noise-metal band from Switzerland that released three albums, an EP, and a remix collection for art-metal label Hydra Head. Knut's Bastardiser, Challenger, and Terraformer mixed the repetitive, set-on-stun riffing of Helmet with the rhythmic complexity of Meshuggah and the deep, hypnotic grooves of Isis. It also tended to go long at times — Bastardiser and Challenger each featured a 10-minutes-plus closing track.

Guitarist Jéjé and bassist Jeremy Tavernier, formerly of Knut, have re-emerged with Mumakil, a much faster and more pissed-off grind-metal act that sounds nothing like its predecessor. The new band is named after a giant war-elephant from the Lord of the Rings trilogy; the cover of Behold the Failure depicts a giant pachyderm rampaging over a battlefield. The band's first release, 2006's Customized Warfare, featured 32 untitled tracks; this follow-up offers titles like "Pigs on Fire," "Mass Murder Institution," "Doomed," and "Face Reality" — so you know the band is, like, political 'n' stuff. No single song makes it to the two-minute mark; the shortest, "Barbecue in Bhopal," is a mere 40 seconds of grinding rage. There are no guitar solos or choruses, just one burst of machine-gun punk-metal after another. Behold the Failure is a perfect soundtrack to our descent into Road Warrior–style societal shutdown.

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