Silver Knife - Unyielding/Unseeing

Silver Knife, from Brussels, Belgium, have released a very strong and poignant debut record in "Unyielding/Unseeing". The vocals are very old school black metal wails, Ala: Burzum, Ildjarn, or moments of older Darkthrone. But this is not to say Silver Knife is derivative or cheap. The speed and precision of the drums, the cleanliness of the guitar playing in the raw style and the ways the vocals are layered in the mix form something very emotional and draw specific distinctions between their sound and some of what I think are their influences.

For instance, ‘This Numinous Loom,’ opens with a fast out-of-the-gate energy that invokes the characteristics mentioned above. Right up to about minute 4:53 where the guitar picks slowly chord fragments rather than tremolo. This is a simple change – but adds to the emotional layering I mentioned. But when the rhythm picks back up again, the tone becomes larger and more epic – to close in a clear and deliberate way. This is not often accomplished well.

I mean, I almost think of Sacramentum as a possible influence on this band because of the way the energy flows in such a unified way. In a track such as ‘Silver & Red’, one notes the fact that there are layers, but that the instruments are working together smoothly. This is a matter of production of course – but that is part of the sound and what the band ‘is’ as a sonic production. The late moments of this track wherein the song slows down do not mess up that flow – but in fact form a new moment of unity for the band to work it out with a different ‘attitude’ in the track.

One general comment about the album... I don’t generally go for fuzzy distortion in metal – but the way the fuzz moves into more obvious distortion when the faster sections kick in are fabulous. The more I think about it, the fuzzy moments add more emotion to the album and add another distinction from those influences mentioned above. This feature is realized so well in the track, ‘Unseeing’, in that as the fuzz picks up when the band slows down, a groove picks up and adds a strange head bobbing beat underneath the guitar and the sampled voice section. I like it a lot.

The album is fairly short, only 6 tracks, but one feels that the transitions across the album work. Not as a unified ‘theme’ or anything like that, but as a set of steps picking up and putting down force and pace – with that fuzz and distortion and wailing appropriately mixed in. I look forward to what Silver Knife does in the future.

5 / 5 STARS 


1. Unyielding
2. This Numinous Loom
3. Silver & Red
4. Unseeing
5. Conjuring Traces
6. Sundown