A Knife in the Dark: Hardcore’s Premier Youngbloods


Parker Traman

The modern landscape of hardcore is arguably at its most diverse and creative, with new bands popping up with varying degrees of technicality, versatility, and pure raw energy. The southern region of the United States is especially experiencing a hardcore explosion, as it’s becoming somewhat of a new age east coast scene. I fully expect bands like No Cure (of Alabama), Your Spirit Dies (of South Carolina), and Portrayal of Guilt (of Texas) to be among the upper echelon of modern day hardcore’s elite in the coming years. Although there is one act, very new to the game actually, who have blown me away with their pounding riffs, aggressive lyrics, and mathcore-like tendencies. I’m of course talking about the North Carolina straight edge act, A Knife in the Dark.

Formed in 2021 by various members of the North Carolina straight edge community, A Knife in the Dark immediately made their mark on the genre with their blistering debut EP, Somewhere Between the Pew and the Fire. Capping out at three tracks and barely reaching the six minute mark, the EP gave us a taste of the quintet’s blend of metallic hardcore, mathcore-adjacent breakdowns, and unfiltered energy. Reminiscent of current cornerstones like Harm’s Way and Converge, it also gave me slight hints of 7 Angels, 7 Plagues with the consistent flow and flexible tempo. “Two Things Alone” remains as one of my top songs of 2021, and I was anxious to see what they’d release next.

Luckily for me, they did not disappoint. Last year they dropped another killer EP, again only three songs and only slightly longer (and by that, I mean literal seconds), One-Way Needle. I have no hesitation in saying that this was my top release of 2022, as it not only built upon their already rock solid foundation, it expanded their threshold for unadulterated hardcore for a modern audience. “Self-Destruction Calls” gave us hints of a more experimental side, featuring a slower, disjointed bridge-like section.

As I said before, the hardcore scene is blossoming right now, and with bands like Turnstile, Knocked Loose, and Vein.FM receiving critical acclaim and mainstream attention, the potential for these newer bands, such as A Knife in the Dark, is sky high. I’ll leave this with a premonition, A Knife in the Dark’s debut full-length will be the best release of that year, and I am 100% confident in that statement.