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“Internal Incarceration” - Year of the Knife Review

Written by Jennifer Moglia

On Friday, August 7th, 2020, Delaware straight edge band Year of the Knife released their highly anticipated debut full-length, titled “Internal Incarceration.” After being signed to Pure Noise Records and featured on the label’s summer tour last year, a bill stacked top to bottom with staples like Counterparts, Stick to Your Guns, Terror, and Sanction, they were no longer a “hidden treasure” of the hardcore scene, now moving on to much bigger and better things.

Their 2019 release “Ultimate Aggression”, a combination of their earlier EPs, 2017’s “Ultimate Disease” and 2018’s “First State Aggression”, became a favorite of many. On their latest effort, they take it a step further, pushing the genre into a fresh new direction while still staying true to its roots of straight-up heavy-hitting hardcore.

The record opens with a bang on “This Time”, a gripping first track clocking in at just over two minutes. In fact, there are only two songs on this album that run longer than three minutes, last year’s PN Tour Single and instant classic “Sick Statistic” and the brutal, fast-paced “Eviction.” The remainder of the tracks on this release range in length roughly between a minute and a half and two and a half minutes.

Vocalist Tyler Mullen’s growling vocals help to convey the frustration of feeling stuck inside one’s own head, a concept that the cover art and title of this project allude to. The lyrics in these songs also touch on themes of addiction and the loss it can cause, something that isn’t new to a band so passionate about their straight-edge allegiance. This shines through specifically in songs like “Through the Eyes” and “Premonitions of You”, pleading “You keep killing yourself / You can’t keep killing yourself.”

“Virtual Narcotic” and “Manipulation Artist” were both singles dropped prior to the album’s official release, and with good reason. The chaos of this record really ramps up in these two songs, and the catchiness of the “fool me once” hook on the latter track is undeniable.

Some more highlights include the cut-throat “Nothing to Nobody”, sure to be crowd favorite “Stay Away”, and the title track, “Internal Incarceration”, complete with pounding drums that pair perfectly with Mullen’s ferocious vocals.

The wild ride that is this record comes to a close with “DDM”, in which the only lyrics are “YOTK / 302 / DEHC”, and honestly, that’s all they need to say, given how much this project speaks for itself. “Internal Incarceration” is like nothing else that’s out right now, a 31-minute constantly bombarding and completely visceral experience, and one that listeners definitely won’t forget.

Year of the Knife is a five-piece straight edge hardcore band from Delaware and signed to Pure Noise Records, made up of Tyler Mullen on vocals, Madison Watkins on bass, Brandon Watkins on guitar, Andrew Kisielewski on drums and Aaron Kisielewski on guitar. You can support them by buying “Internal Incarceration” on vinyl as well as other records and merch here, or by streaming the album wherever you listen to music.

Have you listened to Year of the Knife’s “Internal Incarceration” yet? What are your thoughts on it? Let us know by tweeting us @lgndsoftmrw and @JENSESSlON! You can follow Year of the Knife on Instagram @xyotkx and on Twitter @YEAROFTHEKNIFE.


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