Knokkelklang - Eksistens

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Band Knokkelklang
Album Eksistens
Country Norway
Genre Black Metal, Ambient, Noise
Release date (album) 2006
Release date (review) 2015/09/21


Existence? Is that really all? Existence? Is this what is recognized after a spin of this release? Existence? The first output of the Norwegian black metal band does not feel as if it would attempt to engage the listener in any meaningful kind of way. It can even be debated whether this tape qualifies as a metal release at all. Even though the opener shows a good amount of references to the depressive black metal branch, the second track is an ambient piece – that this would also be named after the band is maybe the most confusing aspect in this regard – while the last composition on this release meanders around the edges of black metal, drone and noise.

Vague melodies, quite distorted screams and the pointless dynamics added by a drum-computer set the stage on the first composition. The guitars throw in riffs, but the dominant one is rather like the plucking of strings with the intention of setting a certain mood and atmosphere than anything else. In the background additional chords help to fill the void. While this is all quite solid, it is also not able to leave a mark. All is too bland and too generic. Yet things may be better without the pointless second track. The acoustic guitar sounds rather strange and the vocals are tiring, because the hollow screams in an empty space have been presented too many times already. When it comes to the last track, then the band Earth simply imposes itself. The slow and steady progression of the music, the general feeling of vastness and emptiness are actually not bad. It is an interesting approach, but the Knokkelklang simply failed at doing something useful with it. Again, the vocals fail to impress and as there is nothing else to take over and to divert the attention of the listener, the track is somewhat of a strain to enjoy.

What can be criticized is not so much the bland production but rather the general absence of a clear idea or structure. There is no red line, there is nothing to guide the listener. There is music and there are sounds, but they do not create a coherent picture. It is just a too and fro between various styles and approaches. All is bleak, all is dark and all is … well whatever. Knokkelklang's first output is simply boring. The small sparks of energy created in the opener are lost with the second track and cannot be revived in the last. Sounds and noises pass by, while the listener will wait for the end to come; maybe this is what the band had in mind in the first place. Yet, considering the large of amount of outputs in the black metal genre, whose goal appears to be similar to the one of the Norwegians, the standard in terms of quality and quantity appears to be too large to tackle.

Eksistens is like a compilation and nothing else. Ideas thrown together, because it was possible to do so. There is so much darkness that the listener simply feels tired by it and is motivated to switch the channel. Countless other bands can be referred to as being similar or close to this output, but it would be pointless. A random pick from the endless streams of depressive black metal will definitely provide anyone with something equally in sound, style and quality. For the books: with this demo tape Knokkelklang has marked their existence.