Date: Friday 6th December 2019
Venue: Stylus, Leeds
Supports: Renounced, Justice For The Damned, Malevolence
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Bringing one of the most crushing heavy line ups that the UK had seen for some time with Renounced, Justice For The Damned and Malevolence all taking to the stage before fast rising headliners Knocked Loose to complete the night. And with a sold out Stylus this evening it certainly proved that this was a bill that would draw in the crowd and really treat them to the best of Hardcore and Metalcore that was on offer this evening.
As the clock struck the early hours of half six, Renounced took to the stage to open tonight’s show in a heavy fashion show. With their heavy hitting brand of hardcore mixed in with a crazy lighting set up it was wild from the very start and even though they were only opening todays show it was clear that they weren’t letting it hold them back. ‘Calloused’ was standout track in the set mixing intensely quick riffs in with the expected breakdowns to really add some energy into the crowd and despite it being early it didn’t take too long for the crowd to start moving with. Set closer ‘Love and Depression’ capitalised on this perfectly and was a crowd favourite as the floor opened up and plenty of hardcore dancers took their position in the pit and moshed along as the front rows of the crowd shouted the words back up at the stage. Whilst the crowd wasn’t anywhere near capacity when they played, Renounced certainly gave it their all and it really made for a great opening set for those in attendance. The bar was definitely set high for the rest of the night for both the bands and the rowdiness of the crowd.
Australian Justice for the Damned were next up tonight and whilst it may be only their third time playing in the UK, the crowd were clearly on board continuing from where they left off. Bringing a clearer and more refined sound really had an impact on the set with their more metal based hardcore landing well on the still growing audience. ‘Those Eyes’ provided ample opportunity to head bang early on with the riffs hitting particularly hard tonight. Having released ‘Dragged through the Dirt’ all the way back in 2017, it was good to hear that a new album is in the works to come out early next year. Showcasing a couple of their unreleased tracks tonight turned out to be a good move as judging by the crowd’s reaction it will definitely be an album to keep an eye out for. It may have still been early in the night but after Justice For The Damned, the crowd were definitely warmed up and with Malevolence still to take to stage it was clear that this was going to be a rough one. As for the band, they didn’t put a foot wrong for the entire set and worked the room into chaos very well. Definitely a band that I’ll be keeping my eye on into 2020.
Main support tonight came from Yorkshire’s very own Malevolence and things kicked into high gear as soon as they took to the stage with ‘Slave to Satisfaction’ getting things off to a rapturous start. There was a slight mix issue with bass sounding a little tinny at the start but the sound engineers sorted it in no time and by a few tracks in it was barely noticeable. It was clear from the showing tonight that Malevolence really were a step apart from other hardcore bands with solos flying out throughout. The combination of slower vocals from guitarist Konan Hall and the much faster ones from vocalist Alex Taylor worked incredibly and really added to the bands sound. ‘Severed Ties’ came in strong a little later into the set and brought with it the first of tonight’s many crowd surfers that would be going over the barrier. Everyone that wasn’t in the pit was banging their head along. It was clear that over the last few years the band had been honing their performance as everything was very tight on stage and made for an intense experience. Bringing out Knocked Loose vocalist Bryan Garris towards the end of the set to do a play though of unreleased track ‘Keep Your Distance’ was a definite masterstroke and left no time for anyone to catch their breath whilst also working to give the crowd a teaser of what was to come later in the night. Describing their set in the introduction as “The most dangerous 45 minutes of your lives” was a big shout but as final track “Self Supremacy” dropped it couldn’t have been truer. Even though it was no surprise they they’d end with their top track, it was worth the wait. Everyone was screaming the words back with Alex even taking to the crowd to get involved with the energy. As the last notes rang out and the crowd calmed down it was great to see the impact that tonight’s band had. And with the fact that they also have a new album out in the new year, Malevolence will have definitely picked up some new fans today.
To sum up tonight’s headliners in a single sentence isn’t easy but to give you some form of an idea I will say that I’ve seen grenades that are less explosive than Knocked Loose are. And as the band took to the stage tonight’s sold out crowd wasted no time in kicking things off. With new track ‘Bellevue’ coming nice and early in the set it worked to prove that they could match everything that they had put out on ‘A Different Shade Of Blue’ in the live setting which really made for an incredible performance . After a brief pause to introduce the set and thank everyone for not only selling out tonight but the entire UK leg of the Tour, they dropped straight into the hard hitting ‘Oblivions Peak’ which had the crowd with their arms in the air singing along and as the shouts of “Oblivions Peak” gave way to the breakdown carnage resumed in Leeds to levels that most bands would struggle to achieve with their last and best known songs. Switching back to their newer track they played ‘And Still I Go South’ and proved that the never tracks get just as much response from tonight’s crowd as the earlier tracks from ‘Laugh Tracks’.
Keeping the theme with newer tracks they dropped in newer single ‘Mistakes like Fractures’ to keep things moving along perfectly. Having just had a music video released for it, it was clear the fans had been listening as they shouted back the chorus to a deafening level. As I mentioned earlier the band were on top form tonight with everything fitting perfectly and really went to show that for anyone not sure, that these guys are the future of Hardcore at the moment. With a unique style pulled though by Vocalist Bryan Garris’s high screams and guitarist Isaac Hale providing lows to contrast, they really are in a world of their own at the moment. Getting back to the show the band had one last burst of chaos before they left UK shores to continue their tour over in the EU. For any Knocked Loose fan to hear that the band ended with ‘Billy No Mates’ and ‘Counting Worms’ will conjure a picture in your head of what went down and believe me when I say it was even crazier than you could imagine. Not a single person in stylus was left on their feet whether by choice or not. As the band left the stage it was clear to everyone in attendance how this was probably the last chance to see them at a venue of this size and with 2020 just round the corner the world really is their oyster at the moment.
Having sold out the entire of their UK tour is an incredible achievement for a hardcore band, especially with larger venues. It really goes to show just what an impact Knocked Loose have had in a short space of time and with them still gaining momentum after the release of ‘A Different Shade of Blue’ it’s going to be just as wild to see where these guys go next, I’m thinking big stages on their next tour and huge festival slots for 2020 for sure and I can’t wait for them to come back to the UK shores. These guys are a definite to listen to if you’re into heavy music and they have somehow skipped you by!