Knoll / Autolith with Jamie Eubanks, Knoll
Knoll is an extreme metal band from Tennessee, currently embarking on their third U.S. tour supporting their sophomore album, Metempiric. Frontman James Eubanks writes to expand on the artwork and concept of the band. At its core, we play extreme music. We find a home in grindcore and the more avant-garde approach to death metal but don’t wish to bind ourselves to a single niche like many others. Extreme music, to us, is a profound expression of what is most central to our being and experience. It is the ultimate conduit of not just negativity but all things worthy of illumination, regardless of emotional perception.
We began writing ‘Metempiric’ before our previous record, Interstice, was released. We have a hard time sitting still and feel unfulfilled if we are not consistently working to achieve a greater vision. This record came together much quicker than ‘Interstice’ because we were much more technically and mentally aligned with the intent of the material. We felt we had something to prove coming off of Interstice and touring for the first time, which made this record more extreme. This theme feels like it will continue. There is a growing hunger with each record to conjure something that both expands upon and triumphs the previous iteration, and I think we succeeded this time.
All concepts under the umbrella of Knoll revolve around the dissection and exploration of greater perils. Metempiric is an inquiry into thought itself, as well as its boundaries and misguiding. The title itself means all things beyond experience, which you can take as you interpret, but all of the pieces within the record operate under that notion. The lyrics themselves are dense and resultantly veiled, a product of distilling these concepts into typically short bursts of music.
Like many, we are guided by human experience and focus on an overwhelmingly prevalent negative. We will never be ones to pretend that creating music and touring on it is not a wonderful experience, but the inspiration for the band is that of wanting to fill what we feel is a void in what is to be expressed and tangible. I tend to take a lot of interest in physics, philosophy, and some literature, though I am not a scholar by any means and only wish to create from the heart and not something overly manufactured. From a more earthly standpoint, we always want to be a band that is open about our ethos and encourages others to participate in and nurture their scene. Touring and writing allow us to interact with mutual appreciators and get our ideas across consistently. Music is best manifested as a reciprocal source of inspiration.
I find myself bridging a line between scientism and solipsism if even that. The uncertainty of these lines of thinking, as well as many others, is something that infinitely perplexes me and has inspired this record in particular. I find religious theory sometimes beautiful but am somewhat of an anti-spiritualist, which can manifest itself in our music. Whatever humans have created for their idyllic vision of an elevated being can be so fucking stupid and uncertain that it is not worth concretely believing in at all. To exhaust the mind with the weight of these ideas is not suited to our current capability, though it is always in our nature to ponder. These elements will always be in our music and are core to our band.
I have always been fascinated with darker artwork, be that musical or visual, especially that which revolves around human nature and atrocity, et cetera. I was into the usual scare-culture garbage when I was a kid. Still, it wasn’t until I discovered grindcore, experimental metal, and noise that I felt like I had found something I completely obsessed over and knew I had to create my foothold. I have a brutal case of obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety and fall into a need to rationalise myself and my thoughts through philosophy all of the time, hence my love for this type of music and lyricism. This record is recent as all of us are quite young – I am freshly in my twenties – and is not an overtly dark record, but ‘You will never be one of us’ by Nails hooked me on blast beats and led me down the rabbit hole of extremely nihilistic and later dissonant music. Portal has been a consistent infatuation of mine since. I know way too much about that band. I am now always looking for something more artistically extreme than the last thing, pushing me to create. I think it is up to the listener to discern how they digest the music. I enjoy many different types of music in different capacities and ways, but I benefit from all of them. To me, as well as within Knoll, the creation of music is deeply connected with the uniting mind of myself and others. People are free to take what they will from it. We will stay the same.