Knocked Loose – A Different Shade Of Blue

By Dave Stewart

Knocked Loose is a name that everyone in metal and hardcore knows. A few years ago nobody had a clue who they were at all – now their name is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. The hype train left the station at record speed and the band started to globally feature on bills alongside Every Time I Die, A Day To Remember, and many more, as well as appearing on numerous computer and phone screens as both their music videos and the now infamous “arf arf” memes did the rounds.

Their relentless brand of heavy hardcore has set the genre alight, their ruthless and adrenaline fuelled live shows continuing to throw fuel onto the fire and keep it burning bright. Their debut record ‘Laugh Tracks’ put them on a direct path to the big leagues, and they’re hoping that follow up record ‘A Different Shade Of Blue’ will keep them on it. The burning question is a simple one – are they one hit wonders, or are they the new heroes of hardcore?

The first taste of the new record came in the form of first single ‘Mistakes Like Fractures’ which, on first listen, appears to be a generous slice of classic Knocked Loose. The metal-tinged riffs, the pit-inducing chugging and the tortured vocals of front man Bryan Garris – all of the elements from the previous record are present and correct. But then the breakdown hits, and everything takes a violent turn.

They’re angry. Sure, they’ve always been angry. But that breakdown demonstrates a rage that’s anchored in something far deeper than simply being pissed off, and it’s so intense you can feel it. There’s a darkness that ushers its way through the mix, seeping through the disgustingly low tones and pulling you deeper and deeper into it. The entirety of ‘A Different Shade Of Blue’ has blossomed from that darkness, and the end result is a soul-stirring and hostile record of the highest quality hardcore.

Album opener ‘Belleville’ thrusts you straight into the mayhem, switching from break-neck paces to droning riffs that continuously get slower and slower before coming to an abrupt halt as Garris screams “I need you to make me feel”. ‘In The Walls’ is drenched in gloom with pendulous riffs crashing through its waters, stirring them into a tidal breakdown that’s heavier than anything they’ve ever written. ‘Guided By The Moon’ leads you to believe it’s going to be relatively laid back, but then reveals that’s a ruse – the haunting and chilling mist thickens into a fog, completely engulfing your senses before plunging them into the void.

‘Road 23’ is a fist-pumping rager that’s sure to become a favourite, boasting everything that Knocked Loose do best. Thrashy riffs, thunderous bass tones and pounding drums all collide in a short but sweet explosion of noise. ‘Denied By Fate’ immediately launches into a sonic attack, keeping its foot firmly on the gas as it storms through two minutes and twenty four seconds of aggression, quickly followed by ‘Misguided Son’, closing the album in the most harrowing and punishing way possible.

There’s also a couple of tasty guest vocal spots here too. The first comes from Dying Wish vocalist Emma Boster on ‘A Serpents Touch’, and the second from ever impressive Every Time I Die front man Keith Buckley on the devastating ‘Forget Your Name’. The inclusion of both on the record is a nice little nod from the band to both the legends of the scene and those breaking into it, showcasing the strength of the hardcore community, and Knocked Loose’s commitment to contributing to its survival.

Knocked Loose have managed to capture an energy on ‘A Different Shade Of Blue’ that, when unleashed, oozes from the speakers, creeps into your ears and surges through your entire body. You can vividly picture the live show – the sweltering heat in the room, the chaos in the crowd, and the visceral frenzied performance from the band. Very few bands manage to accurately translate that feeling in a studio setting, but Knocked Loose have managed to do it with album number two.

The ceaseless aggression of the record is infectious, delivering every devastating blow in the most exquisite yet reckless way. Not only have Knocked Loose proved that ‘Laugh Tracks’ wasn’t a fluke, they’ve proved that they’re only just getting started. Expect to see this record on a lot of album of the year lists – this is one of the hardest and most impressive hardcore albums of 2019.

DAVE STEWART

Three more album reviews for you

Selfish Things - 'Logos'

Cult Of Luna - 'A Dawn To Fear'

LIVE: Reading Festival 2019 - Saturday