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Klokking In: Toronto's Klokwise Break Stuff On Debut EP

Across four tracks and 11 minutes of bug-eyed threats and riffs wider and deeper than a 90s bully’s jorts, Klokwise seek to revive the oft-maligned Limp Bizkit evolutionary line of nu metal.

Hands at 10 and Nu

Of the acts at the bleeding edge of nu metal’s fourth wave, the top tier—bands like the Callous Daoboys, Omerta, and Tallah—have leaned into the genre’s chaotic streak; babbling madman vocals, hurtling instrumental progressions, and wild dynamic shifts. These markers, handed down by nu elder gods Korn, Slipknot, et al., are fundamental to the DNA of nu metal, but they were never the whole story. There are other, dumber branches on this great genre’s family tree—limbs long-neglected, yet equally constitutional to the whole. Lost, yet humming with forgotten power.

On their debut EP Time’s Up, Toronto’s Klokwise come bearing a simple message: If you don’t get down with us, we will punch your face off. Across four tracks and 11 minutes of bug-eyed threats and riffs wider and deeper than a 90s bully’s jorts, Klokwise seek to revive the oft-maligned Limp Bizkit evolutionary line of nu metal, that one-fingered arm of the genre where the aim was less to create a sonic asylum for a frontperson to lose their mind in and more to birth a furious moshpit entity into being, something utterly tasteless and capable of bouncing hard enough to fuck up a planet’s orbit.

Bringing the hardcore frontperson’s playbook for stage-managing a live pit directly into the studio, vocalist Jesse Turnbull’s rhymes are, like Mosaic Law, variations on a theme: Thou shalt get to the front, Thou shalt jump, Thou shalt get down. To do otherwise is to get thyself Klokked. To support this, Klokwise wrap around and suspend Turnbull like some sort of extreme jolly jumper; guitarist Nathan Turnbull’s bullfighter riffs run a bounce-break, bounce-break pattern, leaving space for Mitch Maidens’ snare to slap and creating that sense of air-pocket rebound that’s critical to the bounce groove, the lifeblood of the kind of shit Klokwise are serving. And bounce they shalt.

For all of the bluntness of the message, Klokwise find a surprising variety of ways to deliver. Opener “Bounce With This” is underpinned by a stuttering hip hop groove and a techy little bass riff that drives along like the theme to a spy film, their secret-weapon rhythm section stealth-supplying an enormous amount of forward momentum for the Turnbulls to ride. “Wise Up!” utilizes a Beastie Boys-esque left hook/right hook rhyme attack against a huge-sounding gang chant (“Wise-up/Or-get-klokked-out!”), while “Against My Break”, the most hardcore-derived track of the set, features a brilliantly atonal kitchen-knives-and-ambulance-sirens guitar break that leads into a churning bass solo before dumping directly back into the main mosh groove, an instrumental flex that shows how sinewy the band is beneath all the heavy. Closing track “Bleed The Blue” breaks up the party-threats with a good old-fashioned ACAB anthem; “Taking the innocent making them digits just headlines of victims and we’ll make it end,” Turnbull spits in double-time, reserving his rap chops for a moment that truly counts.

All nu metal is body music. The madmen-running-the-asylum breed that’s been nu’s dominant stream in recent years is powerful in its physical catharsis; we scream and bleed with Raygun, with Garry, with Carson… But with Time’s Up, Klokwise bring something we’ve not been getting; that incredible feeling of bouncing as one for nothing other than the pure joy of fucking absolutely everything up. “Get up with me,” Turnbull recites on “Wise Up!”, like it’s the word of God. “Klokwiiiiise” the chorus responds, one with him.

A special shout-out is due the production on Time’s Up. Everything sounds incredible here; the bass is roiling and resonant, the snare pops like a spraycan in high orbit, and all of it feels huge, like the band themselves have literally blown up so hard they needed to record in an airplane hangar. All kinds of interesting touches grace the vocals across the record as well—on “Wise Up!” the use of various depths of reverb and panning of the vocal tracks creates the feel of MCs in different positions in space, while on “Bounce With This”, a transdimensional murmur phases across the track in layers, a touch of artball weirdness we rarely got on the kind of first-wave nu record Time’s Up looks back to. More impressive is the fact that Jesse Turnbull handled the mix himself; the Klokwise bench goes deep.

With Time’s Up, Klokwise have defibrillated a breed of nu metal I didn’t know I’d been missing and turned it into something that could only be happening now. We’ll be hearing more from these Torontonians—just remember to get the fuck up when you see them coming.