Anonymous Dutch duo, Knekelput, released one of the finest albums of 2022 with Teloorgang. It might also be the strangest piece of extreme metal since Thy Catafalque’s Vadak masterpiece last year. The band don’t mind it falling under the loose umbrella term of black metal, but you’ll hear just as much Gorguts as Gorgoroth in Knekelput’s music. Indeed, we noted in our review that ‘Maudlin of the Well are one of the few comparisons you can make to the music on display here.’
Even more impressive is how the duo’s debut album sat on the shelf for fifteen years. K (guitars, drums) and M (vocals, guitars, bass, didgeridoo, drums) wrote and recorded Teloorgang as far back as 2007 and left it on a hard drive when it ought to have been receiving praise as a masterful piece of avant-garde metal. Though their identities remain guarded, you can find more information about M on the band’s Encyclopaedia Metallum page. His name is Martijn Barendregt, and we speculate that he is a relative of the renowned drummer, Jasper Barendregt (Dodecahedron/Dialogia), who is a previous notable in our SBR Top 7 Musicians of 2020 awards.
Every so often, we hear an album that sounds as fresh as tomorrow’s milk and as unpredictable as the weather in Jutland. Teloorgang is one of those records that will challenge your expectations of what is possible in extreme metal. The more we try to define it, the less relevant its meaning becomes. Instead of splitting hairs about whether to call it experimental blackened death-doom or dissonant black jazz metal, we thought it best to ask the band about their art to clear up the many unknowns.
This is the SBR world exclusive interview with the enigmatic Dutch duo of Knekelput…
The first and obvious question: Why did you record Teloorgang over a decade ago and leave it until 2022 to release it to the public?
We recorded Teloorgang because metal needed more variation. Back then, almost fifteen years ago, we only knew of a few bands that approached metal the way we liked it. When we started writing our music, Annihilation of the Wicked by Nile was all the hype. It was a nice album, but we wondered why nobody around us listened to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Ved Buens Ende, Gorguts or Ephel Duath. When we were finishing our recording, albums such as [Mayhem’s] Ordo ad Chao and [Deathspell Omega’s] Fas – Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum came out, and we knew we were on the right track.
Then life happened. Circumstances demanded us to shift our focus. During the Covid lockdowns, we started playing together again in a different band and thought back of our recordings. Now that we had money and all, we asked Colin Marston to mix and master our old material.
Mmm… Interesting. Another thing that stands out: Knekelput’s music is beyond genre classification, but readers and future listeners will want an idea of what to anticipate from your music. How would you describe your art?
If we had released our music fifteen years ago, it probably would have been avant-garde. Nowadays, we still stand out in terms of variation. Our record has elements of black, death and doom metal, perhaps even folk metal. We liked to experiment with uncommon time signatures, a wide range of vocals, barely possible drum lines and dissonant chord progressions, while keeping the atmosphere of albums that inspired us such as Negura Bunget’s OM.
Teloorgang is brutish yet sophisticated at the same time. What are your thoughts on this observation?
Why is it important for the two members of Knekelput to remain anonymous?
Our recordings are from fifteen years ago. We do not feel represented by our younger selves anymore. During a lifetime, a person is not a constant. Big (or small) events and choices alter a person on several levels.
The drum work on your debut album is mind-boggling. Tell us how you approach a Knekelput song with the drums in mind.
We tried to not be influenced by metal drums too much. Drums in metal are too often just a baseline, not inspiring in itself. We are both bad drummers, which allowed us to approach drums a bit differently.
You are quite open about your influences – Morbid Angel, Deathspell Omega, Negură Bunget. Which other artists influenced you at the time of writing Teloorgang and why?
We mentioned a couple more in our first answer, but our influences back then are not at all that relevant.
Since the recording of Teloorgang, we have moved on to different music styles. M started exploring microtonal tunings, has composed experimental electronic (computer) music, and plays the sitar. Most of his instruments no longer have frets or frets in places where you would not expect them. K went into experimental hip hop, Captain Beefheart, free jazz (such as Der Rote Bereich) and modern classical composers like Messiaen and Charles Ives. Together, we have also had some performances with a krautrock band. Only recently, we started playing metal together again.
How often did you consider leaving your music on a hard drive so it could never be discovered?
We are still considering it. We might very well delete our Bandcamp page in the near future. The new music we are writing is much more interesting to us.
What are the future musical plans for the members of Knekelput?
Our new album will be hysterical, pure panic, more black metal and at the same time further away from any kind of metal. We hope you will call our next album brutish yet sophisticated again.
Ha-ha. How likely is a live Knekelput performance in the future?
Final question: Why do you write and record music?
We have to. Knekelput did not record music for fifteen years, and our music is still relevant. Compare Clipping. to the hip hop of 2007; then compare Ashenspire to the metal of 2007. Metal needs new blood. We are old, but we still think we can contribute.
*** Knekelput self-released Teloorgang on 25 October 2022. It was the SBR Album of the Week for episode #11 of our YouTube series. You can watch the video feature here.