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Knife the Symphony - All the Wrong Turns Taken to Get Here (Phratry)

Knife the Symphony-All the Wrong Turns Taken to Get Here
24 February 2023

Following 2008’s Crawler and 2009’s Dead Tongues, this punishing Cincinnati, OH post-punk trio put out a handful of split releases from 2010-2017 (one each with LKN, Swear Jar, Smoke Signals, and Nonagon, and a 2014 four-band, double 7” split with Aperiodic, Mala In Se, and Joe 4); here finally is their third full-length. In my issue 74 review of that double 7”, I called their lone track “Room and Pillar” “brutal and inhospitable, yet riveting and compelling,” and that’s double the case here. In fact, re-recordings of the bludgeoning, Big Black-meets-Fugazi “Boulevard Inn” (previously demoed for the SofaBurn Presents live series) and ferocious, Bad Brains-like “Causation” (which appeared on their split EP with Smoke Signals) blow away their 2016 versions, thanks to tighter playing and crisper production.

Throughout, shouter/guitarist Jeff Albers delivers his enraged, bellowed vocals like he’s been dipped into a cauldron of scorpions, while thunderous rhythm section Seth Longland and Jerry Dirr are flexible enough to decelerate the relentless assault when needed, even turning pastoral on acoustic-over-nature sound respites “Mile Marker” and “Wildling II.” (