With the release of Laughing Tracks in 2017, Kentucky boys Knocked Loose emerged as one of the contenders to take Hardcore by the balls and drag it into the future. There incendiary live shows did nothing to harm that reputation. Now the boys have returned with A Different Shade of Blue, an absolute monster of an album which firmly establishes them as Hardcore’s leading light.
This is not your traditional Hardcore band and there isn’t much opportunity for a pizza maker here, but they are heavier than Andre The Giant after Christmas dinner, with a low end threat that brings to mind bands like Code Orange. But there Hardcore credentials are sound as they counter the low end with bags of groove the likes of which Madball do so well and in Bryan Garris they have a frontman, who’s shouting ability is truly frightening. It’s not guttural like Barney Greenway, more like the shouting and cursing you might here if you’ve jumped straight into a bath full of scalding water and I’ve not heard the level of passion he exudes in his voice since the late great Raybeez-a man whose heart was in his lyrics. In contrast to that there are some truly David Vincent inspired backing vocals in the mix here, showing the bands death metal influences.
The stand out track for me is Serpent’s Tongue with guest vocals from Dying Wish singer Emma Boars, a raging mid paced track that regularly breaks down into chaotic pit inducing breakdowns. By The Grave opens to swirling guitar effects, that you just know is going to crash in at any given moment and when it does, it’s a more fast paced track with those Morbid Angel style backing vocals I talked about. Road 23 is everything good about Metalcore (as I know it) sounding like In Cold Blood or Damnation A.D, and In The Walls is a fine example of the 5 piece at their heavy best, with pinch harmonics being utilised to devastating effect while the whole thing is wrapped up with Misguided Son which will probably go down as the track guitarists will appreciate, as there is some stellar axe work going on here.
A Different Shade of Blue has the look and feel of one of those benchmark albums that we will look back on in years to come and realise, that this is when Hardcore changed. From a lyrical context through to the execution and presentation of the album, it’s a game changer in every department. It really is that special. The quintessential Hardcore album of, and for, 2019 and beyond... Chris Andrews