Knife – Heaven Into Dust (Napalm Records)

Monday, 21st August 2023
Rating: 9 / 10

Slicing through the German scene, you can’t get a more ‘metal’ moniker than Knife. Together in this incarnation since 2019, the quartet have plenty of seasoning together (and apart) in other acts – thus explaining the vigorous attack already present at this relatively early stage of the discography for the sophomore album Heaven Into Dust. Chains, fire, blood dripping from the logo, and a hooded figure in leather and bullet belt gear sets the stage for a ten-track offering of blackened speed metal with plenty of 80’s reference points from the early British/German brigade of acts with occasional melodic hints to keep things catchy and memorable.

When the quartet choose to lock into highest gear, you get the feeling that it’s a musical/vocal locomotive that’s hard to stop – double kick fury, gang-like vocal segments in key sequences, punk/raw tones, chainsaw riffs, plus the shrieking madness of Vince Nihil bringing terror to the airwaves like the melding of Stace ‘Sheepdog’/Razor meets Mille of Kreator. Evil guitar bends segue into semi-tribal mid-tempo riffs for “With Torches They March”, guitarist Laz Cultro and drummer Ferli Coltello reaching back into their archives of classic Slayer meets Iron Maiden mechanics to make this an easy standout. Headbanging parts seem mandatory to every musical composition – the immediacy of “The Arson Alchemist” flows in that regard into left field ambiance during the bridge or other-worldly instrumental time signature switch-up, while follow-up “A Phantom Devised” feels like the early days of Running Wild careening headlong into W.A.S.P., the guitar lines possessing this rally cry energy that can’t be denied. The purity of power as these gentlemen lay down this material keeps the record entertaining from first organ strains to the final instrumental fadeout.

Being a part of the Napalm Records roster now should push Knife into plenty of new markets beyond mainland Europe. Heaven Into Dust is one of those records that as a teenager would have been cranked to ten incessantly, and now as an older scribe still gets me grinning ear to ear to prove that blackened speed metal still has plenty of fuel left in the tank to get the job done.

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