Year of the Knife - Ultimate Aggression (Cover Artwork)

Year of the Knife

Ultimate Aggression (2019)

Pure noise Records

One of the most underrated music festivals in the United States is This Is Hardcore hosted in Philadelphia. Every year, the festival brings together a diverse group of up and comers in the hardcore scene, established scene veterans, and a host of hardcore bands who’ve moved on from the genre but come back to revisit their roots. One of the highlights of the earlier side of the bill is the showcase of upcoming talent that has included bands that have gone onto greater success including Code Orange Kids, Vein, and Harms Way. Another band potentially on this precipice is Delaware's Year of the Knife.

Ultimate Aggression is Year of the Knife’s debut LP out on Pure Noise Records. Like some of the aforementioned bands, they take traditional hardcore and combine elements of the new industrial influenced scene that add additional layers of bass driven heaviness. Opener “Y.O.T.F.” sets up the album as a buildup showing the band adding tension as it barrels directly into “Ultimate Disease.” The song nicely summarizes what Year of the Knife is about. Traditional hardcore riffs mangled with thrashy heaviness and layered with death metal influenced vocal patterns.

Everybody knows the best part of any heavy song is the mosh part. When the band brings back that nasty riff, but twice as slow. Fucking devastating. Year of the Knife offer no shortage of head banging moments. The whole album lurks from one breakdown to the next, but tracks like “Your Lucky Day” and “Blue Lies” really deliver with intensity. They are sure to go hard in a live setting.

Year of the Knife are a straight-edge band and don’t shy away from the topic. They tackle chemical use, dependency, and the diminishing effect it has on some in tracks “Ultimate Disease” and “You’re Lucky Day.” They also branch into other topics including state and police violence in “Blue Lies” and “First State Aggression.”

Ultimate Aggression a success because of the diverseness Year of the Knife bring to it. For a debut release, the 5-piece show promise letting folks know they have their finger to the wind with what is driving the hardcore scene in 2019. This album is a welcome addition.