The level of trust and confidence in those they had enlisted to work on their sophomore behemoth of an album Metempiric allowed the extreme metallers from KNOLL the freedom to push their creative boundaries even further than before. Today we’re taking a closer look at each of the relentless tracks, decomposed by Jamie Eubanks himself.
KNOLL hit upon a winning formula with debut album, Interstice, that they were keen to repeat with Metempiric: recording took place with Andy Nelson at Bricktop Recordings, in Chicago, IL, the album was then mixed by Kurt Ballou and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, whilst artwork was handled by Ethan McCarthy.
Lyrically, the themes on the record are as complex and claustrophobic as before. The thirteen songs on the album are an abstraction of consciousness and time, using metaphor to delve deeper into the human condition. Along the way they cover class warfare and human atrocities through a tangle of words that encapsulate an inescapable sense of existential dread.
Stating the personal nature of their music and retaining complete ownership and control as being cornerstones of their decision, KNOLL are embracing the hard work and hands-on nature of the task ahead of them. These six college-age musicians stand on the precipice of adulthood with the world at their feet; Metempiric is merely the next chapter in what looks set to be an ongoing tale.
This piece pertains directly to the overarching themes of Metempiric and our debut, Interstice. It is about an elasticity in entropy throughout time and the tendency to coagulate all minds as one in a free form of boundless thought, free from pain. It’s main melody is foreshadowed in the previous record if you know where to look.
Felled Plume is a reference to a guiding plume for wandering proselytes, upon disappearance of which leads to peril and deceit. A humanity that is dependent on external pillars of spirituality is frail and ill-fated. The winding guitar passages near the beginning of the track echo themselves, circling in a tandem of uncertainty. This was the first single off of the record and one of my favorite experiences working with Frank Huang for an accompanying video.
“Throe of Upheaval”
This song focuses on the temporal patterns of regurgitated civilization on an ever-withstanding body. The trumpet in this track is included in a literal sense – as a fanfare to heed the death and rebirth of peoples through warfare or natural erasure.
Burgeoning Pillars is about the need of a multitude devouring its foundations and an absolute thirst to expand beyond your current grasp, be that in your physicality and possession or in your psyche. It is an extension of the ideas in the previous track. The propensity for violence in order to achieve these ideas is a focus here.
Dislimned is an obfuscation of established knowing and is meant to exist in a wall-less space between shifts in judgement. With tracks like this, I like to take a literal and very interpretive approach to what an illiterate piece of instrumentation can represent on a conceptual plane. The horns here are a funeral toll for preconception and represent an ever-present unease in all bias, with the low and growling guitars acting as clattering slabs of change.
“Gild of Blotted Lucre”
This one is another single that Frank created visuals for and features some of our more extraneous musical ideas that we have been trying for some time to organically involve. The lyrics center around complacency in squalor and the human tendency to use others as a foothold, towards what is within question.
“Tether and Swine”
I wrote this song in disdain of gluttony and the disregard for other forms of sentience. It is a direct criticism of those who refuse to confront their own consumption, be that animals or anything of a general usurping. The central inquiry is into the true difference between one mind to another, and the evaluation of their worth. This is the final track featuring trumpet on the record as a gesture of mourning.
“Of Troth to Atom”
This song, in its most general sense, is about a wavering in your own experience and respective inferences, and the ability to spiral into inconclusion through doubt. I am always deeply inspired by physics and that is prevalent here. There are references to holes in the standard model and the existential horror of unfathoming your own essence. I appreciate the dynamics in this track and being able to work in ambience with my noise contributions more so than harsh walls. There is also a brief microtonal passage at the end, something that we are working towards building more records around.
Marred Alb carries several meanings to me – one being a blunt message of outrage to theocracy and stabbing priests, another elaborating on a similar idea to Of Troth to Atom in the risk of confirmation in your belief. It is one of the more phrenetic tracks on the record and definitely a favorite to play live right now.
“Flux of Knowing”
This song is about an urge to relieve yourself of your body in pursuit of a higher living, or a glimpse of enlightenment, here represented as a visual of a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of matter, before being returned to your original form. I like to think that the dissonant harmonics here respresent an invasive voltage of probing information.
“The Dwelt Withe”
This is a short poem referencing the relationship between species and psyche and some of the earlier themes on the record – those ignorant of that which perceives their own kind. It is inspired by mankind’s interaction with lower forms and the thought experiment of higher dimensional beings materializing in a lower dimensional world.
Whelm is a blanket piece about deep confusion and a compulsion of endless recontemplation. The chords in the second portion of the track follow a motif of a sort of shepherd’s tone, manifesting an infinite swirl of mental disarray. By this point in the record, many of the tracks are self-referencing and elaborate upon each other through different lenses. They all carry their own weight, but are definitely written with cohesion in mind.
This song is a sum of the record and escapes the peril of judgement and a kind of relativism into a more unfathomed order. The ambient textures comprising the majority of the track have definitely polarized some of the people listening to the record, but we didn’t approach this with the intent of creating something musically flowing. It’s meant to be draining and reflective. It rides a line of ambiguity in evoking qualia that feels necessary to assert the tone of the record.