Kentucky hardcore upstarts Knocked Loose have been riding a fairly substantial wave since their inception in 2013. Their debut EP ‘Pop Culture’ got peoples’ attention straight away, and landed them support slots with high profile acts such as Expire and The Acacia Strain. With debut full-length ‘Laugh Tracks’ they’re ready to prove that they’re not chicken (sorry!) about making the next leap forward.
Opening number ‘Oblivion’s Peak’ starts slow, with pummelling down-tuned rhythms bridging the gaps between Slayer-esque guitar harmonies. The pace builds gradually before Bryan Garris‘ powerful vocal comes in, and from that point on the album is absolutely relentless; a perfect blend of 90s hardcore, beatdown, and modern metalcore. Tracks like ‘The Rain’ and ‘Billy No Mates’ even show hints of the weirder 2000s metalcore bands like Norma Jean and Zao.
The production on this record is excellent and every heavy moment hits like a truck. Bands that use 8-string guitars can sometimes end up sounding really muddy, but that’s absolutely not the case here, and every note and nuance cuts through perfectly. The drums and bass are thunderous, and every single aspect is perfectly balanced. It’s rare to see a release of this overall quality this early on in a band’s career, especially in hardcore where DIY and low-fi is the name of the game.
If there’s criticism to be levelled at ‘Laugh Tracks’ it’s that it’s a little bit predictable. It’s extremely well executed, but you can see the breakdowns coming a mile off and some of the “mosh call” sections are a little contrived and cringe-inducing. That said, it’s important to remember that this kind of hardcore isn’t really about musical innovation, there are plenty of other genres for that. It’s about getting people fired up, and with this release Knocked Loose are sure to do exactly that. It’s also best enjoyed in a live environment, and for every new fan they pick up with this album they’ll likely pick up three when they play these songs on UK stages later this year.
Written by Liam Knowles (@wearefixtures)