EP REVIEW: A Tear In The Fabric of Life, by Knocked Loose – A Visceral Story of Trauma and the Stages of Grief


Knocked Loose, of Oldham County, KY, just debuted a surprise EP accompanied by an animated short film (and a lot of merch). While the world around them slowed to a standstill, the members of Knocked Loose took to a literal cabin in the woods (with a few horror movies) and poured endless hours into crafting an all new experience for their listeners. Paired with the animated short film, the 6 track EP takes the listener on a journey with the main character as they fall into the void of grief and depression. In a press release, vocalist Bryan Garris reveals, “The story follows the main character through a traumatic car crash late one night in the woods that leaves his partner deceased, and from there you spiral with him into the depression and guilt that comes with being the cause of something so detrimental.”

Where Light Divides the Holler puts us at the wheel with the main character as he drives off the road, the sound of the crash coinciding with the song blaring to life. Panic chords strike a cold fear into the listener like never before, feeling as horrific as any horror movie score can. Bryan’s vocals are more engaging than ever through the course of this EP, showcased primarily when the instruments cut off and he lets out a blood-curdling scream, “From the fog you emerge“.  As the score of the first track builds, we hear squealing guitars mimicking the sound of tires on pavement before the barely murmured line, “A tear in the fabric of life” lets us fall into the jarring breakdown, full of more incredibly unsettling car tire sounds that just amplify the underlying feeling of thematic horror.

Now that the first track of the EP establishes the terror of the dramatic car accident itself, the second track, God Knows, starts to pull us into the recognition of what’s happened as the main character begins to struggle under the weight. “Clawing to get away, but every branch I hold onto breaks. Where do I go from here? Panic sets in and I start to shake.” The song is also notable for featuring Matt King, the vocalist of Portrayal of Guilt. The breakdown/conclusion of the second song feels like the bloody aftermath of the movie Carrie, with violent guitars enunciating every word Bryan screams, before fading into the sound of the car radio slowly distorting.

We then find ourselves in the middle of the EP with Forced to Stay, a song whose first verse at least feels similar in structure to Trapped in the Grasp of Memory, from their sophomore record A Different Shade of Blue. Lyrically, we get to the reason why the two crashed in the first place, and why our main character is feeling such guilt, with the lines, “In my head, you say ‘I told you so’. We should’ve left before the storm.” While it’s obviously meant to be taken literally – the two had a discussion about when it was safe to leave while it was storming, and the main character chose to leave during the storm despite – I feel as though this could be interpreted in a more figurative way, being that the two should have left before their relationship turned south.

A week prior to this EPs release, the members of Knocked Loose all posted an ominous message on their social medias. Many people were left trying to interpret what the message could mean. A new album title? EP title? Song title? Thankfully for the fourth track, Contorted in the Faille, we get our answer: A sickening lyric just before a dark breakdown hits. At this point in our story, the main character has returned to their house some time later, attempting to move past their trauma and guilt, “Months have passed but the winter stays.” The character is attempting to move forward and accept what’s happened, ending with the aforementioned lyric, “I AM WITH YOU NOW“. After the breakdown, at the end of the song, we hear shovel hitting dirt.

At the beginning of the year, Knocked Loose, tired of waiting for live performances to come back, streamed a special online set called Live from the Blue Room. During this set, we got our first taste of new music since A Different Shade of Blue‘s shattering release in 2019. That first taste, as it turned out, was track 5 of this EP, Return to Passion. The song is just over a minute long, kicking its way in, and running back out just as quickly. Seemingly, the narrative shows us the main character beginning to unravel. “From underground, I hear you calling. Clawing through the dirt to return to life.” Lyrically, we also get a few “fun” callbacks to their sophomore release. “Guided by the moon unto the grave” (Guided By The Moon), “Everything will be okay” (Road 23), and “Hide you in my walls” (In My Walls).

Permanent. The final track, track 6. The fifth stage of grief – acceptance. “Suffering in this life without you. Permanent blue.”, while obviously a line regarding being permanently scarred by this traumatic experience, it also doubles as an obvious reference to their previous release. Surprising nobody, we end this final song with an absolute bang. A musically slower paced track, akin to Guided By the Moon, but also featuring an incredibly visceral breakdown just after Bryan’s solo vocals scream out, “All the lights went out“. We are then able to take a slow ride out of the EP with a lugging instrumental break that pulls the curtain on A Tear in the Fabric of Life.

Knocked Loose returned with an absolute vengeance with this short, bittersweet six-track EP. Resting at just over 20 minutes long, it’s a perfect avenue for new fans to peak their head in. While leaving almost all traces of hardcore at the door, the Oldham County crew dive headfirst into a grisly take on metalcore. An artistic project that tells a full fictional story that starts with our main character in a deadly car crash, and then drives us along through the stages of grief as they deal with the trauma. In a press release, Bryan states, “This is the first time we really dove in and tried to create something sonically that evokes a different range of emotions and overall something that introduces tension and anxiety with a massive payoff.” While his younger brother, Dallas, writes on Instagram, “15 days in the woods. 2 horror movies a day. Hours of writing.” All of this establishes perfectly what you’ll be riding through as you listen. An intense listening experience filled with feelings of genuine horror and guilt. The overall sound builds on everything they establish in their sophomore release and cranks it ten-fold. Fans of Knocked Loose won’t be disappointed, and fans of the genre might find a favorite new release.

Stream the EP: http://smarturl.it/KnockedLooseHC

Buy the merch: https://purenoise.merchnow.com/collections/knocked-loose

Knocked Loose – A Tear in the Fabric of Life

(Out now via Pure Noise Records)

Track list: 

Where Light Divides the Holler

God Knows

Forced to Stay

Contorted in the Faille

Return to Passion


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