Outright-Keep You Warm album review. FFO Amazing modern and intelligent Metallic Hardcore.
Outright-Keep You Warm album review. FFO Amazing modern and intelligent Metallic Hardcore. Outright has been kicking for over 12 years and really is a force in intelligent hardcore. Tons of bands can write raging tracks but lack the lyrics and ethos to make the critical difference. Like a huge difference, that makes me put tons of bands to the side, even metal bands. Keep You Warm is a raging classic and one of the best modern hardcore albums I have heard for years. And the added touches and influences on their second album are outstanding and refreshing.
The album is ten tracks of uncompromising clever hardcore with a well-placed melodic touch that balances out the competing metallic hardcore influence. Also, I dig the newish harmonising vocals on some tracks, and it's never too much the same as the gruff vocals, it's just some additional and intriguing toppings on a very multi-layered cake. Throughout this album, the same as every one of their previous releases are well thought out, intelligent and spot-on lyrics about social issues be it racism, human rights, the environment or mental health. If you are an individual who doesn't care about lyrics, this album may not be for you. To me, that's the whole package; amazing music and heartfelt lyrics. If you have ever seen Outright live, you are well aware the band wears their heart on their sleeve and is passionate about what they sing about. These important layers make all the difference. This is a band made of musicians who actually give a damn. They also are well involved at a community level and are both inclusive and educative.
This is a very solid album that has definite ragers for the gig front and a sense of energy and fun. I am not going to go over every track as this would end up a thesis-length document utterly singing their merits. But let's look at some obvious highlights: Truth Teller is a classic hardcore opener; punchy and moody as hell. Vocals that go for the throat and the dynamic is damn magnificent. But I love how even on this first track we get some clever almost emo-like guitarwork and fantastic melodic backing vocals(plus a riff at 1:19 that sounds like Oasis or maybe modern blues). And a sneak preview to a trend over the album-excellent backing/group vocals and crunchy as hell guitarwork that is epic and scorching as hell. The Hammer definitely gives one or five head nods to Slayer and is a ripper with its suffocating soundscapes. This is real moshpit gold!. A huge highlight of the release. Certain tracks have an essence of metallic hardcore to add that extra punch like Linchpin, Breathless and Tied Through Time(try reading the lyrics to the last two and not getting emotional-I double-dare you). Fortify (my fave track) is another song with top-shelf vocal performances, very smart songwriting and mind-blowing use of atmosphere and mood. This is something. Outright has always excelled at; building the tension and astounding balance of dark vs light tone. This track gets better with every listen. The Call is that curveball on the album that sticks with you, believe it or not, this is largely a stoner/sludge/doom metal song; also ironically made by some band members who are straight-edge. It is quite doomy and also reminds me of some L7 tracks; which is a huge compliment to the band. Plus it is a wild seven-minute-long epic that is never dull and is colossal in its effect on the whole album. This different-styled track works well because it not only allows you to relax with its slower tempo but appreciate how accomplished this band is; so much more than a derivative hardcore band, so much more. Kudos to them for doing this track-loved it. Then up next is the isolation skull crusher that is Burn and as a community nurse (my day job) I can utterly relate to this and it is an angry classic hardcore banger. The last two tracks are massive and gifted tracks for a few astute reasons; 1) the lyrics blew my mind because they make me want to read even more about the issues they sang about 2) they warm my heart as certain anarchist bands that I grew up on like Conflict, Crass and Rudimentary Peni had this same effect, like you scream fuck yes; this is what our community is about and also 3)the music was as turbulent as the issues raised within the tracks. Both Tyrants & Vultures and Silent Spring are topically about extremely important topics and you have to credit the skill of bringing this to fruition in a catchy song. But Outright have it in spades on this album, it has much more variety and guile than the debut album(although that is killer as well) and makes Keep You Warm essential listening.
Play this to your friends and support these lovely people!.
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