Published Sep 14, 2016Have you ever watched sitcoms without the laugh tracks? It's a little uncomfortable and slightly slow, with a slight pause after each punch line for the laughs to come. In that regard, Knocked Loose's debut LP isn't that far off from its namesake — it's occasionally eerie when permeated by Slayer riffs (as on "Oblivions Peak," "My Heroes" and "A Fetish"), but it feels like there's something crucial missing.
For the most part, Laugh Tracks is characterized by barely passing mid-paced chuggery. It sounds a little like Suburban Scum for the Warped Tour crowd, the latter part of which says more about the bands Knocked Loose has played with and the fans they've earned than the music they play. For good measure, the Kentucky band add a bit of flavour du jour metalcore here influenced, presumably, by Code Orange in the vocals and occasional breakdown.
The title track shows a little extra promise, with the winding background guitar adding in some necessary diversity. As a whole though, the band's overreliance on silly mosh calls before knuckle-dragging breakdowns kind of softens the edge here; it's certainly heavy and fun to listen to, but it feels unnecessary and removes the threat. It's particularly frustrating because when the breakdowns are more concerned with groove than grunting ("Deadringer"), when Brendan Murphy of Counterparts shows up to yell along ("Billy No Mates") or when they complement the thudding with a little high-pitched chaos ("Oblivions Peak," "The Rain"), the band suggest that they bring the necessary danger when they want to.
Heavy is as heavy does, and on Laugh Tracks, Knocked Loose certainly walk the walk when it comes to constant crushing, but a little more diversity or distinction would help them really hit their stride. (Pure Noise)