"On this kind of form, and with this momentum, surely nothing is going to stop Knocked Loose." Hardcore's most exciting band just decimated London's 2,500-capacity Forum

Hardcore music has never been bigger, and Knocked Loose are making sure it stays true to its savagely heavy roots

Knocked Loose
(Image: © Jake Owens)

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If you’re a hardcore fan, the 2020s have already been something of a vintage decade. Save for a Madball here or a Hatebreed there, the genre had never really made any serious inroads into major mainstream acceptance previously, but there are now a handful of bands that look like they could change that. One of them is Kentucky quintet Knocked Loose, who this evening have managed the impressive feat of selling out London’s 2,500-capacity Forum. 

Before they join us, French hardcore crew Headbussa get necks and fists in the pit limbered up with some savage beatdown terror, and San Francisco blackgaze trailblazers Deafheaven play a set mostly comprised of their most extreme material. Eschewing the more melodic and dreamy numbers from 2021’s Infinite Granite, they instead focus on blasting the shit out of everyone with tracks such as Gifts for the Earth from their more metallic 2015 album New Bermuda, with frontman George Clarke a captivating focal point as he lifts his skinny fists to heaven. You could argue that Deafheaven’s soaring, white-hot majesty is a slightly odd fit alongside the gruff, brute force of what they are sandwiched in between, but the chant that goes up as the final chords of Dream House ring out prove that the pairing certainly worked.

Even before Knocked Loose come on The Forum is absolutely wired, screaming and barking from the front to the back just as a reaction to their curtain being revealed at the back of the stage. It bears repeating; this is rarified air for a hardcore band. When you look at why the genre's popularity is on such a steep upward curve, much like Turnstile, Knocked Loose are unquestionably one of the key bands making it happen. Unlike Turnstile, with their catchy pop songs and boyband good looks, Knocked Loose’s success has been achieved by making absolutely savage music, which, very pleasingly, seems to be getting uglier, more extreme and nastier with each passing release. When the band casually bound onstage and uppercut everyone with a magnificent Deep in the Willow it actually takes your breath away at just how amazing it is to see so many people losing their shit (and, good god, shit is truly lost, these people look like they’re trying to pull the venue down with them) to such monumentally brutal, distinctly underground music. 

When you’re in the room with them, it’s easy to understand this bands appeal: utterly crushing beatdowns, a guitar tone so sharp it could pierce a diamond and frontman Bryan Garriss’ insane and unique, screaming, high-pitched yelp perfectly complimenting his all spin-kicking, all rabble-rousing performance. When they play new song Blinding Faith from their forthcoming third album You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To, it somehow manages to raise the bar for outright savagery even higher. On this kind of form, and with this momentum, surely nothing is going to stop Knocked Loose.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.