Review: “First State Aggression” by Year of the Knife

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Wyatt Oberholzer at The Knife Lair with second guitars from Xavier Wilson of Past Hope, Year of the Knife (named after the Tears for Fears song?) released their 3rd EP “First State Aggression” back in May. It’s been an incredible year for the Newark Delaware hardcore crew who have played a huge number of shows with the likes of Terror, Harms Way, Knocked Loose, Backtrack, Candy & Jesus Piece to name but a few.

“Blue Lies” gets this underway at a furious pace with Xavier Wilson of Past Hope providing not only the second guitar that he does throughout the EP but also additional vocals. The guitar tones evolk memories of early Throwdown material with a raw quality to the recording. Wilson’s vocals are more in tune with Matt Honeycutt of Kublai Khan and add a extra layer of raw aggression to the lyrical battering ram. As you can tell from the title, they think the Police don’t provide justice and don’t have a problem in telling the World about it. If that was an abrassive opening statement piece of a song then EP title track “First State Aggression” goes for the juggular. Delivering powerhouse Metallic Hardcore riffage by the barrell load alongside Moon crushing breakdowns and skull pummelling kit work from ex-For Centuries sticksman Andrew Kisielewski. The broken glass throat shredding vocals deliver the furance fiery fierce lyrics that have no doubt seen plenty of mosh pit action. Being this socially aware is refreshing and the band clearly chose breakdowns over leads at every opportunity.

“Untitled” puts the handbreak on at 100 miles and hour and as it drops into eearie guitar meloncholy work against a backdrop of rainfall and a sample. It maybe something of a filler but it cleanses the pallet nicely for “J.R.M” features guest vocals from Brett Mullen, the brother of vocalist Tyler Mullen (ex-Agitator). This one is a better quality of recording and that is evident from the very start. Mullen roars over the top of some lead work before an opening verse that barks like a rotwieller. The guitar work takes a more Metal approach while still delivering plenty of bite. There almost a crossover Thrash quality to it. “Evil” then picks up where “J.R.M” left off, with Metallic Hardcore riffage and two step drum patterns. Mullen’s buried “It’s Evil!” Screamed vocal is a joy as the riffs crash off your ear drums like waves off the sea shore. [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. “Blue Lines” Ft. Xavier Wilson of Past Hope
  2. “First State Aggression”
  3. “Untitled”
  4. “J.R.M” Ft. Brett Mullen
  5. “Evil”

“First State Aggression” by Year of the Knife is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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