Knogjärn
Mera Bedövning

I’m gonna be honest – there’s a lot about Sweden’s Knogjärn that, at first glance, I really wasn’t sure about. I’m the first to admit, I can sometimes be a judgemental shit. I’m working on it. But as I looked at the band, their heavy usage of brass knuckle images led to the sneaking suspicion that at least one of these dudes has a Monster Energy logo tattooed somewhere on their body, which all led me down a path that inevitably ended at (**wretches**) Five Finger Death Punch. All this before I even heard a single note of the band’s music.

Like I said, I can be a real shit.

Here’s the thing – while certain aspects of my hesitation are perhaps still somewhat warranted, when I finally wrestled my own ego and elitism back down beneath the surface, what I ended up discovering on Mera Bedövning is an endearingly fun, high energy record with enough twists, turns and variety to make for an incredibly engaging listen. Knogjärn are, it turns out, a refreshingly dang good time.

And when you investigate a little bit further, the quality of Knogjärn starts to make even more sense. For one, the band worked pretty closely with Niclas Engelin (The Halo Effect, Gardenian, In Flames and a billion other amazing projects) on Mera Bedövning, who gets co-writing and co-producing credits on tracks “Aldrig Mer” and “Bedövning.” The rest of the producing credit goes to the highly-acclaimed Oscar Nilsson, who has worked with everyone from The Halo Effect and In Flames, to Avatar, Meadow’s End and Scorpions – point being, the dude knows how to make an album sound huge, and Mera Bedövning is no exception.

Furthermore, what Knogjärn bring to the table makes the marriage of all key players a match made in heaven – an arena-ready blend of influences ranging from Figure Number Five through Sworn to the Great Divideera Soilwork (so many riffs on have Ola Frenning and Peter Wichers written all over them), a good dose of Melodic Hardcore/Punk energy (more than a few instances bring the likes of Comeback Kid and  Cancer Bat to mind), and there’s certainly a but of the “Nu” thrown into the mix as well, even bordering at times on Rap-Rock territory (though never truly crossing the line). It’s an exciting concoction that kicks like slamming a couple Vodka Red Bulls back-to-back before bungee jumping the Grand Canyon. It’s taking every bit of restraint for my lame-white-mid-30’s-ass not to scream out “YOLO!” I’m sorry.

But truly, this is the kind of music that would find itself very at home on some X-Games hype video or Ken Block (RIP) stunt video. When Knogjärn launches into the inescapably catchy chorus of opener “En Sista Gång” I can practically see Shaun White and Bob Burnquist high-fiving midair on a half pipe while Steve-O does some pogo stick tricks or some shit with his dick out underneath. Obviously flames are also involved. And I also want in on the insanity! It’s a scorching track that starts with some of those Soilwork/Engel-adjacent riffs that pack a really nice punch, setting the table for Kim Eriksson’s unique, energetic vocals to really set the tone. Where he lacks in outright power, he more than makes up for with a really punchy, full-throttle delivery that seem purpose-built for live annihilation. And then there’s follw-up “Bedövning,” which will, I guarantee, be Erick Rowan’s WWE entrance song in short order. It’s inevitable, with it’s big, crunchy choruses- and vaguely rap-rock verses. On paper, this is not a combination I’d normally find myself drawn to, but here I am, bopping along having a hell of a time. It’s just too infectious.

And it’s truly that infectious energy that keeps me coming back to Mera Bedövning. I do not know a lick of Swedish, but that does not stop me from shouting along gleefully with the delightfully rousing choruses of “Inte Mitt Fel” or “Vad Vill Du Ha,” and there’s no language barrier keeping anyone from falling for the heavy, chugging breakdown of “Varje Gång,” or the epic, gang-backed chorus of “Vad du än Behöver” that will no doubt give you that extra boost needed to go that extra rep at the gym (or help you power through that last chicken wing you don’t have room in your belly for – whichever is more your speed, bud). And if it’s energy you’re in need of, look no further than the super punky “Kopplet Runt Min Hals” which not only features one of the albums more fun, upbeat riffs (save for the quick-hitting album closer, “Snabbhatskedja”) – but also beats you down to the ground with the album’s heaviest, angriest breakdown.

The secret to Mera Bedövning‘s success lies in it’s simplicity – Knogjärn aren’t here to turn the world of metal and rock on it’s heads, they’re here to get in, hit you with a fantastic flurry of high-energy bangers and a few hefty haymakers, and get out before you have time to grow tired of it. I suppose I can understand if this isn’t an album for everyone – but for those of you fortunate enough to have Knogjärn‘s blows connect, I can tell you you’re in for a hell of a good time. I couldn’t be happier to have my own dumb preconceptions proven wrong. Again.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
February 9th, 2023

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