Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN - 26/4
Written by: MAK on 16/11/2016 14:25:44
Beatdown, a sub-genre of hardcore known for its down-tuned riffage and desire to cause as much violence as possible, is the scene into which Oldham County quintet Knocked Loose fits in perfectly. Judging by the name alone, I can imagine some teeth flying from someone’s face due to pit carnage. There is a certain irony to do with the fact that some would choose to call beatdown music pure noise, and Knocked Loose teaming up with Pure Noise Records to release their début album, “Laugh Tracks”.
Kicking off with “Oblivions Peak”, I am instantly ushered into the album with evil down-tuned riffs and an ominous tone that you know would trigger pits flooded with spin-kicks and arm-flails. Bryan Garris’ vocals are incredibly raspy for the most part when he shouts, but he switches up his technique with some deeper growls and even the odd spoken word segment as the music drops. The spoken segment sounds even more sinister with vitriolic words such as “But in the end when it's your turn to be judged, you'll get what you fucking deserve you son of a bitch” — dark and vitriolic lyricism to match the dark nature of the music. The tempo for the opener isn’t incredibly fast, but it picks up here and there for grooves to shine above the breakdown. Elsewhere, the variation of drum techniques shapes the mood in songs like “Deadringer” and “The Rain”, and while the overall tone is still dark in nature, the beats in “Deadringer” in particular are occasionally bouncier, pushing between alt-metal and deathcore — almost like Emmure. Although the drumming in “The Rain” is far more in line with straight-up hardcore, with the enticing side-to-side drum rolls and two-step-conjuring half-time beats.
“Blood Will Have Blood” is far more progressive: it’s slowed down, with a wall of guitar atmospherics smothering the mood for a good portion of the song, leading up for the finale to end in two-step rhythms to rock out to. It leads into one of the most violent tracks I’ve heard in a long time in “Counting Worms”. This is a perfect example of the savage nature of the beatdown genre — much like “Death By My Side” by Desolated. You can listen to the slow down-tuned riffs, brutal chugs and dog-bark shouts, and just picture the chaos in the pits. You could easily set this song against clips of people kicking the crap out each at hardcore shows, and it would be incredibly fitting, and the same can be said of “Billy No Mates”.
The larger chunk of music on “Laugh Tracks” thus serves one purpose; songs like this are designed for senseless aggression and nothing else. Then you come across a song like “My Heroes”, which is more of a headbanger, unleashing awesome grooves to nod along to. During this type of song, you actually pay attention to the different rhythms and quality of musicianship on show instead of focusing on how intensely heavy it is. I feel this is what sets Knocked Loose above their genre peers. The potential to push beatdown forward is certainly there.
Download: Counting Worms, Deadringer, My Heroes, Oblivions Peak
For the fans of: Desolated, Nasty, Code Orange
Release date 16.09.2016
Pure Noise Records