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KNOCKED LOOSE You Won't Go Before You're Supposed To

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Album Review: KNOCKED LOOSE You Won't Go Before You're Supposed To

8.5 Reviewer
Score

Ever since Knocked Loose burst into 2016 with their debut album Laugh Tracks via Pure Noise Records like a tsunami, burning "arf arf" into the vocabulary of every hardcore fan who heard it. On their second record A Different Shade of Blue, vocalist Bryan Garris leans so heavily into what he had already become so well known for, that high-energy, high-octave tone that slices bone deep. Now in 2024, we find the rest of the band jumping off the cliff held up by easy chugging and hard hits, and diving straight into more intricate intense pieces on their latest record You Won't Go Before You're Supposed To

The title draws its inspiration from a turbulent flight Bryan Garris endured, evoking the feeling of a moment where one might bargain, "If you spare me, I'll go to church." Instead, a woman on the plane said to him in reassurance: "you won't go before you're supposed to".

The first track "Thirst" is exactly how I'd describe what it felt like to wait for this record for three agonizing months after their first single "Blinding Faith" dropped in February. It's a quick 2 minute opening kick of energy that's led in by what sounds like echoes of metal clanks usually heard in a funeral mass set up (take it from a very much defunct Catholic). From the glowing cross on the cover, something tells me I'm on the right track. It ends with "THIIIIRST." – another unique characteristic that Knocked Loose has coined, the one word or one line to drive home the theme.

The guitars on "Piece by Piece" lean toward a progressive feel but ultimately return to chugging through a breakdown with guitarist Isaac Hale's deep growls. Knocked Loose must be trying to repent because Poppy's feature on "Suffocate" takes an already high-octave vocal piece straight to the heavens. This choice seems like such an easy call with her remarkable abilities and it gives the song such a wide range of depth, and it's in a perfect spot at number three on the album. "Don't Reach For Me" yanks the listener right back down to hell as the guitar cut right along with Garris' choppy lines, slow but perfectly intentional.

About halfway through and I'm really pleased with the movement of this record…and then I hear it. An unnerving, terrifyingly creepy guitar line that rivals the way Primus' "Welcome to This World" makes me feel, throughout "Take Me Home". It feels like I'm the child in front of that glowing green cross, stuck in purgatory with that line playing. I start to ascend… but no. I start to fall as an old '50s vinyl record plays. It was a perfect set up to "Slaughterhouse 2" with Chris Motionless. This feature isn't one I would have predicted but it seems Knocked Loose is leaning hard into this theme of being haunted by a forsaken belief, and if anyone knows about a haunting, it's Motionless In White.

The amp cuts out for a moment, leaving a raw guitar strum for a quick tee up, very emo of them. Back to "Blinding Faith" with a nu-metal-esque lead in that single handedly got me through some bleak snow days and "Sit & Mourn" screams the title track, something I always find so satisfying. The outro of the last track has a slow, ambling guitar and narrates an image of a dark church filled with gothic architecture that floods my brain when I close my eyes. Knocked Loose has embraced a melodic direction with this record, weaving in a theme that avoids being cheesy but rather eerie and unsettling.

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