Hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana, Radiant Knife is a two-piece experimental metal band. Truthfully, I had no idea what to expect when I initially hit play on their self-titled record. Their sound can only be described as, presumably, an amalgamation of all the music they love. There are moments of Doom, Thrash, Death, Prog and, even a small sprinkling of atmospheric black metal to be found here. Imagine Russian Circles meets Meshuggah meets Alcest and you might have a slight inclination of what sounds Radian Knife produces. That said, please don’t assume I’ve pigeon-holed their sound to those three bands because their sound is certainly much more than that.
Aside from the pummeling instrumentation, one of the first things I noticed about Radiant Knife’s self-titled record was the vocals, or lack thereof. It’s not that the record is missing vocals, but rather they’re in the back of the mix, sounding as if they’re being shouted from a mountain off in the distance. This works wonderfully with the overall tone and their unique blend of proggy, atmospheric sounds, soaked in a layer of doom that washes over the listener. I was shocked to learn that the band is a two piece. The music has such a rich and full sound, and my initial reaction was to think this had to be, at very minimum, a five-piece.
The opener, “Choose your Necrodestination,” is an instrumental track with slightly weird timing (where the Meshuggah influence comes in) and synthesizer sounds reminiscent of something you might hear in an old school horror film. Certainly fitting for the type of music they play. The next track is “Vacant Faces,” and that’s where the far-away vocal style comes in. As the record progresses, it seems the vocals become slightly more prominent and in a way, crawl through the thickness of the music to provide a few moments of light in the darkness. But, don’t let that fool you, this record is about as dark as they come. These vocals are backed by pummeling instrumentation in the form of low-tuned guitars and drums that blast away at your ears relentlessly.
For something classified as experimental, I had a really easy time getting into this record. It flows effortlessly in way that means you’ll never skip a track. It’s hard to pinpoint one song as standout, simply because the entire record stands out as something created by two guys with musical drive and passion. The result is fantastically dark and atmospheric piece of music that you should listen to on repeat.
Written by Dominic Abate
*edited by Danielle Kenedy