Know Nothing – Burn It Alive

Band: Know Nothing
Title: Burn It Alive
Label: Independent
Release Date: 31 March 2020
Country: USA
Format Reviewed: Digital Download

I don’t advise looking at it for too long, so I will just acknowledge right off the bat that the cover of this release is really gross and move on.

KNOW NOTHING is a band you may very well not be familiar with, so let’s talk about an unsung hero of Underground Metal: Christopher DeBari. The one time bass player for the magnificent (but sadly underappreciated) psychedelic-noisy-metal-mind-fuck that is TODAY IS THE DAY played on three of the band’s albums, incluing the classic “Sadness Will Prevail” and was a reliable foil to Steve Ausin for much longer than most others in that band. KNOW NOTHING had in fact originally formed around 1992, but after leaving TITD Chris returned and in 2015 the band released their excellent debut album “Well Deserved Human Suffering” with Doug Munley and Bryan Milkie, the other members.

The band’s 2015 release is a blistering, psychedelic fusion of Hardcore fury, with a distinct, metalic flavour (both in the guitar tones and the hyper-aggressive shrieking vocals) and a willingness to veer off in any direction, like a deranged, rage infected hornet. Suddenly springing up on Bandcamp last month, “Burn it Alive” is made up of three cover songs, all recorded (I believe) back in 2017/18. The release  is digital only on Bandcamp (like the last one), and I’m hopeful this sudden online activity is testing the water for a forthcoming new album, with these tracks lacking none of the warped fire and venom of the band’s prior release.

The first track “Sacred Predictions” (originally by BURNING WITCH) takes up almost two thirds of the total run time and is a deliciously and infectiously nasty, slowly building tornado of screaming malice. With a doomy, sludgy, chugging riff, a harsh, stalking drum beat, and some truly demented sounding vocals, there’s something impressively hypnotic about this track. Like in its original form it’s a repetitive dirge, but what a great dirge indeed!

The second and third tracks “Attitude” and “Death Before Dishonour” (BAD BRAINS and EXPLOITED covers respectively) are swift, Punk blasts and quite a contrast to the trudging Doom/ Sludge Metal of the first track. In both cases the band adds a sheen of psychotic frenzy, making the originals seem almost laidback in comparison. Though the Punk Rock origins of these tracks is evident, KNOW NOTHING do a good job of remoulding them in their own madly frothing Metal image.

So there’s really two sides to the band here, the stalking, misanthropic Doom Metal of the BURNING WITCH cover, set against the thundering, charging pace of the following two tracks. I only stumbled upon KNOW NOTHING maybe a year ago, but I’m hungry for more now. I strongly urge you to check the bandout online. As a “name your price” release on Bandcamp (as is “Well Deserved Human Suffering”), whatever you feel like paying, the band will feed your hungry ears with some honest to goodness psycho-metal-nastiness. It’s what you deserve, it’s what you need. Doctor’s orders. 7.5/10 Tom Boatman

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7.5/10 Victory is possible
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