Year of the Knife - First State of Aggression (Cover Artwork)

Year of the Knife

First State of Aggression (2018)


Delaware’s Year of the Knife recently offered up their third release with the EP First State of Aggression. While they stay true to the unbridled aggression and heaviness cultivated in their earlier releases, YOTK also makes some welcome steps forward on First State of Aggression.

The EP’s first track, “Blue Lies,” roars out of the gate. The chorus and breakdown combine metallic heavy grooves with chopping austere riffs to craft a very mosh-ready song. There are some clever and well placed guitar layers in the song too. The lyrical content brings into focus the perils and injustice of the law enforcement establishment. In concert with the music, the lyrics here are aggressive and antagonistic. The pummeling music and antagonistic lyrics in “Blue Lies” clearly set the tone and pace for First State of Aggression.

The title track follows and brings the raspy shouted vocals up front for the listener. There are comparisons to be made here to Harvest or NJ Bloodline. There isn’t a lot of range on the vocals but they are a perfect complement to the driving heaviness of the music on “First State of Aggression.” In fact, the closing of this song is enough to get anyone moshing across their bedroom. YOTK dispenses with any measure of harmonic and melodious guitar accompaniments here. Instead they opt for a chugging breakdown that builds right up to the song’s ending.

The EP’s best song, “J.R.M,” opens with a tightly woven and catchy metal rhythm that shows the band’s ability to stretch their sound. The vocal build up from talking to shouting in the middle of the song is also nicely placed and gives a layer to the song’s aggression overall. The breakdown that follows is a great mixture of simple heavy hardcore rhythms and mid-tempo metal riffs.

What First State of Aggression offers is a solidly recorded hardcore EP that rings with metal influence and unmatched angst. While this EP might not be for the faint of heart or those who like lots of melody, it will certainly satisfy anyone seeking some mosh-ready riffage and finger-pointing pile-ons. YOTK have stepped up their game with this release, and First State of Aggression is an EP very much worth checking out for those interested in the pulse of DIY hardcore.