Knocked Loose Polish Their Blade on 'You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To'

BY Manus HopkinsPublished May 7, 2024


Knocked Loose are something of a love-them-or-hate-them band, or at least a name that comes up often in pedantic internet arguments, with everyone involved seeming to be vehemently on one side or the other. If there's anybody out there who thinks this band is just okay, a day on hardcore Twitter would make one think they're a rare breed. So, given Knocked Loose's tendency to split opinions and elicit extreme responses, it's been an interesting period of anticipation for the band's third full-length LP, which, based on the position they've quickly climbed to atop the hardcore mountain, should be their most fully realized to date.

Now, you could say You Won't Go Before You're Supposed To is Knocked Loose doing Knocked Loose, and for the most part you'd be right. But there's a whole lot more you could say about it too — firstly, there's a lot riding on this record for the Kentucky quintet; with massive tours and festival appearances ensuing, there are more eyes on them than ever before. It's imperative that the band deliver a record that proves they deserve their status as modern hardcore's worthy frontrunners. Admittedly, You Won't Go Before You're Supposed To feels more like a slick, professional release by a band touring larger nightclubs and concert theatres — which, to be clear, it is —than a hardcore DIY effort made to be played in basements with exposed pipes. But when you consider that Knocked Loose's most polished album is still their heaviest, it's not at all a bad thing.

The tone that flows throughout You Won't Go Before You're Supposed To is set only 25 seconds in. After a short ambient intro, opening cut "Thirst" kicks in with a throat-wrenching scream and the bludgeoning drums and cacophonous guitars you should expect from Knocked Loose by this point. If, for some reason, you were expecting the band to change their spots, this might not be the album for you. But keep listening, and you just might be surprised by some of the meticulous intricacies and addictive hooks that colour these songs.

The album's main standout, the Poppy-featuring "Suffocate," is probably the catchiest song the band has ever put their name to, balancing heaviness and hooks. While an oft-mentioned barrier to potential new fans of Knocked Loose is Bryan Garris' angry, Spongebob-esque vocal style, hearing him joined by Poppy in what sounds like a shouting match between two little cousins at thanksgiving scratches an itch you didn't know you had in your brain. Oh, and that beat in the bridge is something.

While "Suffocate" and fellow singles "Blinding Faith" — with its incorporation of low growls — and "Don't Reach For Me" stand on their own just fine, every song works better in the context of the album, with an anxiety-inducing motif of buzzing flies tying them all together. There's very little breathing room until album closer "Sit & Mourn," a slower (but still incredibly heavy) instrumental tune.

At only 10 songs, with the longest still falling short of five minutes, You Won't Go Before You're Supposed To doesn't wear out its welcome, and it's surprisingly enjoyable to sit down or walk around while listening to these songs that undoubtedly were designed to go off live. The album's only real shortcoming is that the Chris Motionless-featuring "Slaughterhouse 2," a sequel to the Garris-featuring original on Motionless in White's latest studio effort, feels slightly underwhelming in the shadow of its predecessor. It's a small misstep in an otherwise robust collection of songs, and though this album may not turn any haters into lovers, it's got plenty in store for the people who already love this band — and there's an awful lot of them. 

(Pure Noise Records)

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