When Knocked Loose introduced themselves with their killer Laugh Tracks debut in 2016, it was with all the subtlety of a bomb. It was a fierce way of announcing to the world the emergence of one of hardcore’s weightiest and most rabid new entities. Eleven tracks of pure belligerence, it immediately connected with anyone searching for music that was violence incarnate. Their sound was nothing revolutionary, drawing comparisons with plenty of big-riffing, hard-hitting, non-joking bands pushing out musical punches, but they pushed every element of it to the extreme, and in doing so created something uniquely hostile, comfortably existing alongside the likes of Code Orange, with their slow motion breakdowns built to crack bones. Legend of dangerously chaotic mosh pits at their shows soon spread, with good reason, and this follow-up is deservedly emerging as one of the most anticipated heavy releases of 2019.
Natural roadhorses, time spent on endless touring has only served to hone the Kentucky quintet’s chops here. Not only that, as cathartic as their music is, on album number two they clearly have not found a cheerier perspective from which to view the world. A Different Shade Of Blue is not only a worthy successor to their debut, it eclipses it across the board, and offers more of everything that made that record so compelling. It’s more hardcore, more metal, there are more fast parts, more breakdowns, more malice, more unease and, perhaps most importantly, more energy. As it careens along, the whole thing hits you with a drive that is breathless no matter what tempo they go at.