Review: “Laugh Tracks” by Knocked Loose

pne192_cover2Welcome to the most hyped release of the summer from newcomers Knocked Loose.

Over the course of the summer I’ve been hearing plenty about Kentucky metal band Knocked Loose, and their debut album Laugh Tracks. Whether its been a shout out from Stray From The Path, or plenty of support from deathcore forums across Facebook, there’s been a degree of hype and excitement for this band. From what I’ve gauged, plenty of people are citing their supposed originality and aggression as a refreshing approach to their blending of deathcore and hardcore. I’ve always found this to be unusual as a description for metal bands, as originality is an abstract concept (nothing is truly original and created independently of influence from peers or environment) and every metal band is aggressive and angry. Also, combining deathcore and hardcore doesn’t seem so thrilling when you realise that adding hardcore to deathcore (an amalgamation of death metal and hardcore) doesn’t actually add anything at all. In truth, plenty of fans have been saying lots without saying anything at all- so lets look at what the album can actually tell us.

From the opening seconds of “Oblivions Peak”, Knocked Loose establish their sound- bone-crunching deathcore guitars and riffs played with a sense of swagger and groove pinched from their peers in Terror and Stray From The Path. As you can probably gauge, breakdowns are abundant and almost identical- all are played at an identical tempo and are chromatic and tiresome very quickly. Guitars and drums don’t vary too much from there- sure, there might be a few discordant melodies or doomy passages- but generally they stick to a formula that becomes somewhat grating halfway through the album. I can’t say too much about drums- overall they’re typical of most hardcore bands and consist of tried and tested rhythms and patterns.

The only respite seems to come from the vocal department within the band. Main man Bryan Garris has a style that is fairly different- hardcore shouts that occupy a higher register that allows for a particularly venomous delivery on songs such as “Last Words”. His use of spoken word and combining with death metal grunts on songs such as “Deadringer” and “No Thanks”, nicely juxtaposes the bleak chugs the rest of the band offers.

Maybe I’m just being cynical, or perhaps having spent the best part of a decade listening to heavy music I’ve just had my fill of mindless brutality- but I honestly just can’t grasp the rising appeal of this band. There’s definitely potential there, but it’s frustratingly hampered by repetitive ideas and stale genre tropes. Laugh Tracks only saving grace is that its vocals are decent and that the album is mercifully short.

Rating: 4.5/10

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What albums should I review next? Feel free to leave a comment, like this blog post, like the Facebook page , follow the Pinterest page, and follow this blog for more content.

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