Isolation and introspection are practices as old as time, but they are, for reasons you already know, states of mind that are incredibly relevant to this global moment. Not everything is about the pandemic, of course, but when you see an album cover depicting someone trapped in a house that is also a human skull, well, it’s not a difficult leap to make. The world is an angry place—Year of the Knife have funneled that rage into a tempestuous, powerful work of hardcore punishment. Building on the formula established on 2019’s Ultimate Aggression, their latest release brings the same fury, but with a grittier, noisier snarl thrown into the mix similar to that of their pit-fueling contemporaries Harms Way. Year of the Knife may not be tithing members of the Church of Godflesh, but they’ve attended a few services and studied the literature.
Internal Incarceration‘s chief strength is its ability to pack so much into each of its 13 dense, unforgiving tracks. “Manipulation Artist” delivers a charging freight-train riff, two-step mosh part and thick-necked palm-muted riffing in under three minutes. “Nothing to Nobody”’s propulsive D-beat grinds to a crawl and explodes into one of the year’s best breakdowns. Somebody’s definitely getting hurt real bad when live shows are a thing again. This record is a white-hot distillation of wrath and frustration; the sound of one mind and an entire world in turmoil.