​​Knocked Loose – ‘You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To’

By Ash Bebbington

​​For fans of hardcore music, these are strange but wonderful times. A genre that has enjoyed a rabid – but undoubtedly cult – following since the 1980s has started garnering real mainstream attention in recent years. Perhaps the best example of this is the fact that Knocked Loose played Coachella in 2023. If that’s new information to you, no you didn’t just read it wrong. The Kentucky hardcore wrecking ball that is Knocked Loose played the biggest pop music festival on the planet. They clashed with Bjork.

Best of all, they’ve achieved this level of mainstream crossover without compromising on their crushing sound. This came off the back of 2019’s ‘A Different Shade of Blue’, a record adored by fans and critics alike. So, with a bigger audience and more mainstream eyes on them than ever before, did Knocked Loose soften their sound on their hotly anticipated third record?

No chance.

‘You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To’ is every bit as disgustingly brutal as you’d expect. However, that’s not to say it’s a mere re-run of the previous record. There are hints of experimentation, best exemplified by ‘Suffocate’ – a track that lifts a beat during one section from reggaeton, a Latin American pop genre. The track also features pop-metal singer Poppy which adds an experimental yet palatable bend that we’ve not seen on a Knocked Loose release before.

‘Don’t Reach For Me’ also takes some unexpected left turns, with a clean, funky groove dropped right in the middle as singer Bryan Garris screams over the top. Chris Motionless from Motionless in White also shows up on ‘Slaughterhouse 2’ with the band expressing that they were keen to work with him because he ‘knows how to write a hook’.

However, this is evolution not revolution. If you’re a fan of the band already, you’ll be on familiar territory. Vocals that sound like they’re about to give out from over-exertion at any moment? Check. Chugging guitars that sound like they could level a building? Check. Breakdowns that’d make you fear for your life in a pit? Triple check.

In fact, you’ll feel right at home as soon as you hear the first song proper on the record, the barnstorming ‘Piece by Piece’. It’s a complete assault on your eardrums, as guitars, drums and vocals come crashing through the speakers. ‘Moss Covers All’ is a fun nod to hardcore heritage, an absolute cherry bomb of a track clocking in at all of 46 seconds, while ‘Blinding Faith’ features probably the best breakdown on a record packed with them, a guttural, low end crawl backed up by furious blast beats.

When you learn about the writing process for the record, it’s tempting to wonder if the band felt pressure to live up to the runaway success of the previous one. They wrote 40 songs over the course of 4 years before whittling this down to the final 10 you hear on the finished record. A lesser band might’ve been tempted to release a double, or even triple album with that much material and it’s a massive credit to Knocked Loose that they edited what they had so ruthlessly. All of this work has paid off in spades, this is without question the best album of their career to date. It’s hard to imagine any hardcore adjacent record being better than ‘You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To’ in 2024, and we’re not even halfway through the year.

ASH BEBBINGTON

 

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