REVIEW: Knocked Loose – You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To [2024]

Artist: Knocked Loose
Album: You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To

On first glance, the album art for Knocked Loose’s long-awaited 2024 full length release is…unsettling. The name itself—an ominous-but-vaguely-reassuring phrase uttered to vocalist Bryan Garris during a long and tumultuous flight. The art; A harsh neon glow bathing a dense, ominous forest with the cold, mechanical glow of light washing over a single figure. A juxtaposition of commercialized, corrupt religion and natural, unaccompanied and defenseless innocence. This same sense of almost stifling unease finds its way into the deepest and darkest corners of You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To, but before you notice those things, you might lose consciousness from, well…everything else that Knocked Loose do. You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To is Knocked Loose at their most outright aggressive and crushing, but with a refined depth and edge that makes the record a distinct experience from anything the Oldham metalcore act have provided us thus far.

Clocking in at ten tracks and just a hair under thirty minutes long, You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To takes the listener on a journey through bewildering heaviness and soul-smothering dread in a way that only these Oldham County Crushers can. The album’s introductory track, “Thirst” is an excellent example of the former, and perhaps one of the best album openers since Kublai Khan’s “Antpile.” A spastic series of riffs and panic chords quickly build to a punchy breakdown with pummeling, energetic percussion as its base—courtesy of Kevin “Pacsun” Kaine. Kaine’s drumming shines throughout the record, with the ultra-aggressive anthems “Piece by Piece” and “Slaughterhouse 2” highlighting his technical prowess as he works with bassist Kevin Otten. “Slaughterhouse 2” is the band at their most chaotic and outright aggressive—with Motionless in White’s Chris Motionless stepping in to work alongside Garris in making the song gargantuan. On “Slaughterhouse 2,” guitarists Isaac Hale and Nick Calderon open with a Goliath metallic riff cast atop a harsh dissonant hum—but things quickly take a turn for the moshy when a series of gut-busting breakdowns take the reigns (with one moment that seems eerily close to a Felony-era Emmure nod). “Slaughterhouse 2” isn’t the only time Hale and Calderon let loose, however—the opening salvos of “Thirst” are shades of chaotic, spastic metalcore and single “Don’t Reach for Me” highlighting the duo’s ability to create some simply monstrous fretwork. Garris is there for it all—with his signature shrill shout accompanied by backing vocals from Hale and Calderon both.

The moments of You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To that aren’t blistering bombardments of brutalizing metalcore aggression are few and far between, but crucial to how magnificent the record is. “Moss Covers All,” “The Calm That Keeps You Awake” and “Sit & Mourn” all feature segments of spine-tingling fretwork from Hale and Calderon that provide an off-putting atmosphere. This sensation of dread and nail-biting anticipation that lend extra intensity to those moments that come out of nowhere and beat the listener’s skull in, and are in their own way reminiscent of the Knocked Loose that brought us “Everything is Quiet Now” and its immense closing breakdown. “Sit & Mourn” makes the most of use of balancing ethereal segments of off-putting calm with both melodic, slow-burning moments of tactful percussion against jarring, blistering breakdowns that seem to hit just that much harder in contrast against the relative segments of serene—but eerie—calm. Garris, an ever-dynamic frontman ebbs and flows with the intensity in “Sit & Mourn,” another stark contrast and statement to his ability considering how utterly oppressive his voice is on tracks like “Thirst” and the short-but-skin-rending “Moss Covers All.”

You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To is Knocked Loose’s finest release, and damn near a perfect record and archetype for ruthless, riff-heavy and relentless metalcore. Everything Knocked Loose have ever done well they continue to do with an incredible degree of precision—and the band incorporating the haunting, unsettling mood that became more prevalent on A Tear in the Fabric of Life and the Upon Loss singles brings their sound to a new level when it felt like there was no higher the band could climb. It probably isn’t surprising, but You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To is a front-runner for one of the year’s finest records, and more likely than not will be a super-powered catalyst to catapult Knocked Loose to a new echelon of fame.

For Fans Of: Trash Talk, A Gang Called Speed, the DAZE Roster, Candy, Kharma, Comeback Kid
By: Connor Welsh