There are certain genres commonly accepted as being mediocre. Among those genres squarely sits the rotten chimera of metalcore. An unholy amalgamation of metal screams and hardcore punk intensity, the once proud genre is little more than a refuge of pop punkers and metal bands hoping to cash a check on a younger generation that have largely moved on to the greener pastures of hip hop. Yet there’s something that keeps people coming back to the genre, the sheer unbridled rage and angst still speaks to people that are fed up with the lot the world has offered them. In that small contingency, a new sound has arisen to take back control of metalcore from the washed up remnants of A Day To Remember and Issues. At the forefront of this movement are music extremists Knocked Loose, a group who have taken the genre and stripped it back to its most feral state, each note feeds deeper and deeper into a breakdown, and at the Teragram Ballroom this ferocity was on full display.
In general, the stereotypes spread about fans of specific genres are true to at least some degree. This holds especially true for styles that exist on the fringes of acceptability. Noise fans are unrelentingly artsy, metalheads are obsessed with technicality and genre classifications, and hardcore punk fans are sweaty and ready to get some bruises. The last of these was holding especially true during opening act Terror’s set. A lot of bands fear their own mosh pits, they worry the notoriety and cost they’d incur from an injury during their set could ruin them. True hardcore bands let their audiences wear these bruises like a badge of honor. The lead singer of Terror was constantly calling for the crowd to pack in tighter and stage dive, saying at one point “jump on someone’s head.” That kind of dedication is more than respectable these days. In a time when most bands are (reasonably) worried about keeping their audiences safe, many forget to make sure that the audience has fun. During Terror’s performance, the audience was clearly in the latter camp.
Teragram was completely lit up, and when they played “The Code,” the crowd was amped to the max. And for the following song, the lead singer challenged the crowd saying, “This is your mic come and get it!” To the credit of the audience, many of them did get on stage and shout a few syllables into the mic, but the violence clearly had to increase to impress those onstage. There’s something special about throwing your body into a mosh pit; you’re putting yourself at the mercy of those around you and engaging with music in a deeply intimate way. Terror put on a great show because they understood that they’re punkers at heart, they don’t want fights, they’re anti-racist and they’re everything that hardcore should stand for. If anything, their energy exceeded that of the crowd, and when it comes to hardcore, could you really ask for anything better.
Yet, when it seemed like it couldn’t get any better. Knocked Loose took the stage and more than lived up to their name. More than a few teeth had to have been lost in the mosh pit, and I’m sure those who walked out holding their teeth flashed bloody smiles all the way to the dentist’s office. They opened with “Separate,” and the show floor might as well have been a medieval battlefield. And when they played “Counting Worms,” it was the equivalent of lighting the crowd on fire. For those that haven’t heard the song, it opens with the lead singer screaming, “I wrote a song about getting better. It’s feeling I can’t remember.” Then literally barks twice like a dog before the most brutal breakdown imaginable hits like a freight train.
The only noticeable issue was the discrepancy between the energy of those in the pit versus those outside of it. During tracks like “Deadringer” and “Oblivion’s Peak,” it was clear that many in the crowd wanted the join the pit. Sadly, they were inhibited by those already in the pit who swung their arms around wildly instead of just moshing. This unfortunate situation is an unfortunate mainstay of modern hardcore concerts that originated when younger bands started to take over the scene. Regardless of these issues, Knocked Loose put on an incredible show that had more than a few highlights.
Some genres just have a certain level of special to them. While every genre is special to someone, metalcore is the sound of many an angsty teenagers youth. It’s a piece of living history right there on stage. And with metalcore finally returning to the intensity it once had, the genre is fresh and fun once again. Anything that was the sound of someone’s youth can never die, it only resurrects and changes shape. With their current iteration, Knocked Loose has ensured that your youth is in good, capable and violent hands.
- Unknown (New Song)
- The Rain
- Billy No Mates
- Small Victories
- No Thanks
- Damned Earth
- The Gospel
- Oblivion’s Peak
- Last Words
- Counting Worms
- Blood Will Have Blood
- All My Friends