From its first shriek of feedback, Norwegian post-metal/progressive sludge outfit KITE challenge their EP’s title: The All Penetrating Silence. With compositions that feel sprawling despite never eclipsing eight minutes, the band loudly navigates lyrical themes focused on pursuing inner calmness. While vocalist/guitarist Ronny Flissundet howls about troubled souls and self-doubt, KITE’s riffs thunder down from dark clouds. Meanwhile, Bjarne Ryen Berg (drums) and Ole Christian Helstad (bass/vocals) pummel out limber rhythms over vocal hooks and tie-dyed psychedelic flourishes. In “Pissingwell,” Flissundet and Helstad punch the sky with a call and response of soaring croons and harsh barks as the song ominously unfolds. Right to the last breath of showstopping doom finale “Sin Beyond Sin,” KITE wield heaviness as emotional catharsis in the dense fog of the album’s cover.
Although Flissundet is happy to mention inspiration from Cult of Luna to Cave In, The All Penetrating Silence doesn’t ride the kite-strings of previous artists. A sense of urgency and unease permeates each of the EP’s four tracks, blending winding post-metal compositions, disguised pop sensibilities, and trance-driven grooves. Between Flissundet’s desperate sky-flung screams and the restless rhythms carrying the record, KITE have forged an EP that captures the depth and weight of a full-length record in half the time.
Below, check out thoughts from KITE’s vocalist/guitarist Ronny Flissundet about each track on The All Penetrating Silence before the EP’s June 8th release from Sludgelord Records. But first, press play and soar above the clouds before plummeting into KITE’s “Pissingwell” of thoughtful sludge.
KITE vocalist/guitarist Ronny Flissundet on:
“The All Penetrating Silence”
RF: “First track on the EP, and the first one written for it that we all knew we got just right. Originally, I wrote the main theme with a quieter, droning Tool-ish vibe in mind, meaning to explode into the riff that now functions as the verse. But luckily, the three of us work great together during the creative process in the rehearsal rooms, always changing parts, structures and dynamics for the better.
“The lyrical theme is about the drive or the urge to constantly create and produce, not as in music-making, but in life in general. It all boils up and gets to this point where the one true remaining drive is the search for silence. And not just a silence from sound, but a total, all-penetrating one that gives you total peace, quiet and understanding. There’s probably some drug for this as well, but that was not the intention behind these lyrics.”
RF: “I guess both Elder and Cult of Luna was spinning a lot during the days of writing this one, especially in its initial phase, maybe with a spice of Quicksand or Cave In as well.
“The idea started all around the main riff, after the build-up intro, which I kept playing and playing, and wanted to do more around. I actually tried a sketch version of it with my other band, Dunderbeist, first. But we just got hung up on the intro part, making some kind of Iron Maiden-ish thing out of it, and that didn’t quite work out. So when KITE got back together in 2016 after a few years break, I presented the idea to the rest of the band, with its first draft arrangement, which almost instantly stuck. A few minor changes were made as a band, the switching vocal parts between me and bassist Ole [Christian Helstad] were written, and BAM there it was!
“The lyrics in this one are about a feeling that somewhere back down the road, fate took a turn, splitting its path in two: the person you ended up being today, and the person you always meant and wanted to be (referred to as “brother” in the lyrics). So, yeah, this is me whining and reflecting around those matters.”
RF: “First, the title has nothing to do with urinal problems, like some recent reviewer suggested it might. It actually is meant as a wordplay on “wishingwell,” meaning almost the opposite.
“The well is sin and lust and decay always howling your name, full of temptations wherever you go. The lyrics are mainly about the struggle to ignore these, but you still end up pissing in your own drinking water, or something. This well don’t exactly grant wishes.
“This song started as a series of different riffs and parts, where I had no clue at all about where and how it would evolve. So this one was written and arranged mainly as a band effort. And I really like how it turned out, with this constant continuing structure, taking you from part to part, never going back to repeating earlier themes in the song. At first I had a hard time settling with this structure, but it really grew on me, now being maybe our common favorite track off the EP.”
“Sin Beyond Sin”
RF: “The [EP’s] final and longest track. This too was a band effort, starting with me presenting some riffs and parts I wrote, but the song ending up (almost) totally different from what I had in mind at first, something that actually inspires me a lot working with KITE.
“The riffs were colored by me listening a lot to Breach and Neurosis, and I think it was something in those musical landscapes I was aiming for with this. The first rehearsal of “Sin Beyond Sin” had an instant Yeah!-vibe, and we all understood that we had created something special. It seems simple in many ways, but I think it is the hardest of all the EP songs to both sing and play, due to its tempo and feel. And speaking of feeling, this one always gets me real mellow when playing it.
“Lyric-wise it is as dark as it gets. Desperation, despair and depression are key words. Just beating myself up to the max, telling myself I am never gonna amount to shit. Exaggerated thoughts I get at my lowest.”