Like a blow to the head
With the front cover sporting a hooded figure delivering a punch with a bloodied bandaged fist, it's obvious London's hardcore survivors Knuckledust, aim to bruise some ears and incite some primal instincts in the listener. Do they succeed? I think even Cliff Richard would get angry listening to 'Unbreakable'.
I didn't think anyone in Britain was angry enough to make an album like this, I just thought we Brits got a little irritated or severely ticked off, oh how wrong could I have been? Although I am generalising, British rock tends to steer towards; cock rock, (The Darkness) and the fantasy/story bands(Iron Maiden), so it was quite surprising on hearing opener 'Burning Fight', to hear such anger and frustration being spewed out of the speakers. Coming at you like a bullet train full off pissed of passengers, it spits hatred before half timing and adopting a stomping beat, which could possibly create one hell of a violent mosh pit. Vocalist Pedro has a raging pit bull of a voice, constantly foaming at the mouth as he shouts and yells over a meaty production. There's no room for melody, every vocal line seems a release for Pedro's pent up aggression. Lyrics such as 'Fuck the law, fuck the rules, fuck your life, you swore to protect but control our lives' gives a good indication of how much these guys go for the throat.
Guitarist Wema chocks out some solid metal riffs, in particular 'Falling' and especially 'Warnings' with its catchy but simple stomping chord sequence. One of Knuckledust's strengths is their variation on the hardcore theme. It's brutal, yes, it's uncompromising, most certainly, but unlike many hardcore acts they avoid the repetitive trap by using time changes and tom beats to great effect. Granted, 'Unbreakable' is fast and heavy, tracks such as 'Hollow' and the title track itself have blistering pace, but Knuckledust have the ability to change the direction of a song without losing any of it's intensity.
This is pure unadulterated crushing music, it doesn't have time for acoustic guitars, keyboards, long drawn out solos, and for fans of the hardcore scene, whether it be over here or in America, this will a good addition to your collection. It perhaps lacks a few memorable riffs and songs to lift them higher than the underground scene of which they reside. I found Pedro's constant vocal attack a little tiresome after a while but that's just a personal thing, and thirty minutes seems a little short for a full length album, but it delivers what it promises.
The album was recorded in Denmark for a Dutch record label. It's a shame such a band have to go to The Netherlands to get a record deal. Perhaps our obsession with TV talent shows is blinding us to the talent right on our own doorstep. It's a double edged sword however, for if the British hardcore scene did get mass recognition then it would instantly be diluted with a lot of clone bands, and fervent acts such as Knuckledust would be a thing of the past. If you're a fan of Hatebreed or Sick of it All, then keep an ear out for Knuckledust, but be careful because they may just rip it off in the process.