Knocked Loose + Malevolence + Renounced + Justice For The Damned @ The Mill, Birmingham – 4th December 2019


Travelling from Sydney, Australia openers Justice For The Damned haven’t come all this way to take prisoners. Their set begins as people are still being admitted but they soon pull a big crowd with their musical magnetism. Bringing a full-on sonic assault that mixes blast beats with ferocious riffs and when you factor in some fine guttural growls it all adds up to an intense experience. Closing with the aptly titled ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ ensures they depart on a high.

London’s Renounced hit the stage like a tsunami and armed with a sound that juxtaposes monolithic brutality with lighter moments they really can’t go wrong. Guitars ring like nuclear sirens and are underpinned by relentless, thunderous drums while a hyperactive vocalist covers every inch of the stage. Signed to Holy Roar (the Litmus Test for all that’s good and heavy) they’re on an upward trajectory and tracks like ‘Calloused’ (from new album Beauty is a Destructive Angel) make them a hard act to follow.

An air of expectation hangs heavy as we await Malevolence and it’s curtly curtailed as the band arrive and then stomp like a 900lb gorilla. Hailing from the Steel City there’s a surgical sharpness to their sound which topples over the audience like a ton of bricks. With a well honed aggression they deliver a new track in the shape of ‘Keep Your Distance’ which bodes well for the forthcoming album. The vocalist doesn’t adhere himself to the bouncers by inviting the whole crowd onstage as they unleash fan favourite ‘In the Face of Death’. Like a violent street gang they place their foot on the audience’s throat and keep it there for the whole set.

The buzz and excitement surrounding Knocked Loose is comparable to that which circled Hatebreed when they exploded in the late ‘90s and there’s certain parallels that can be drawn in their modus operandi. Both bands play a punishing metal/hardcore crossover but where Hatebreed have settled in a comfortable groove Knocked Loose have avoided the sophomore slump by going in a darker, heavier direction on their second album A Different Kind of Blue. In a taste of what’s to come over the next 50 minutes an earth shaking rumble proceeds the band who arrive with little fanfare. Vocalist Bryan Garris grabs the mic and screams at the crowd very much like Scott Vogel from Terror as the guys launch into ‘Trapped in the Grasp of a Memory’. There’s no mercy shown as ‘Oldham County Intro’ segues into ‘All My Friends’ with guitarist Isaac Hale adding some death growls that contrast with Bryan’s high pitched squeak. From the new record comes ‘Belleville’ then it’s back to the bands genesis for ‘Small Victories’ which ignites a huge circle pit. Bang in the middle of their set, with pits erupting left, right and centre comes the aptly titled ‘Oblivions Peak’. However Knocked Loose are not all about pure bludgeon as their set ebbs and flows with ‘Forget Your Name’ being a riff heavy affair and ‘Billy No Mates’ crawling like Black Sabbath at their most doom laden. ‘…And Still I Wander South’ swirls like a musical maelstrom sucking the unwary into it’s vortex and precedes a furious ‘A Serpent’s Touch’.  The only respite the crowd are given is when the band retire briefly before returning for two well earned encores in the shape of ‘Deadringer’ and ‘Counting Worms’ before the band depart as they arrived: in a wall of glorious feedback.

Reviewed by Peter Dennis.

Knocked Loose set list:

  1. Trapped in the Grasp of a Memory
  2. Oldham County Intro
  3. All My Friends
  4. Blood Will Have Blood
  5. Belleville
  6. Small Victories
  7. Oblivions Peak
  8. By The Grave
  9. Forget Your Name
  10. Mistakes Like Fractures
  11. Billy No Mates
  12. …And Still I Wander South
  13. A Serpent’s Touch
  14. Deadringer
  15. Counting Worms