Two years ago, US rockers The Outfit had us greedily devouring a debut album which merged familiarity with fresh individuality. It was a seriously rousing incitement which ensured an eager anticipation of what would follow would lie in wait and now erupt with the release of sophomore album, Viking. It had one striking release to follow and build upon so ripe intrigue surrounded us as we leap into its sounds. In some ways, the ten track encounter is more of the same but in many more traits another attention gripping roar that is bolder, eagerly boisterous, and far more unique.
The quartet of brothers Mark (drums) and Matt Nawara (guitar), Andy Mitchell (vocals/guitar) and Mike Gorman (bass) have relentlessly reinforced the success of their self-titled first album, their live presence and reputation alone pushing the band towards major attention with the past year seeing them sharing stages with the likes of SOiL, Accept, Flaw, and Saving Abel. Mixed by multi-platinum producer Ulrich Wild (Breaking Benjamin, Static-X, Deftones, Pantera, and White Zombie), Viking is another mighty jab at widespread recognition, a rampant release easy to see a fresh horde of new fans charged up by their inspiriting sounds.
Viking opens up with the band’s new single, Come Alive and immediately imposing and inviting rhythms are bound in guitar cast wiring. It is a fusion continuing to trespass and light up the air as the familiar infectious tones of Mitchell venture into a lyrical dimension bearing passed loved ones. With rich melodic lacing around the track’s muscle, the song is instantly recognisable as The Outfit with its seeds and strengths bedded in classic and hard rock across the decades.
That classic breeding is even more pronounced in the following Midnight Moses; a soulful and hearty incitement needing mere seconds to entice ears and involvement. The bass casts an earthy rumble throughout the song, beats and percussion dancing on its spine as the guitars again spring a web of melodic and sonic enterprise. As the first, the track is pure contagion effortlessly drawing voice and movement before Believe calms the air a touch with its emotive flame across another catchy landscape. As with all tracks in varying degrees, it feels like a familiar friend in part and fertile originality in plenty more ways, the striking Carnival in turn emphasizing that feeling with its voracious surge and esurient holler not forgetting a groove which entwines ears like a sonic succubus.
One of the album’s major highlights is followed by another in the melodic siren that is Bleed in the Dark, a slice of seduction carrying dark shadows as magnetic as the honest reflection of its words and harmonic lighting. A track which touched with certain intimacy, it is matched in craft and potency by the album’s title track; Viking almost sneaking up on the shores of the senses on a sonic wave before plundering ears and appetite with predacious riffs and equally hungry grooves. From menacing rhythms to vocal arousal, the track drove under the skin consuming all with a contagion again wholly unique to the band.
Sirens almost stalks the listener with its bluesy grooves and devious prowl, embroiling them in a web of steely grooves and compelling endeavour while Little Bit serenades ears with similar gusto and enterprise if less intensity. As within all tracks, the band’s hooks and melodies instinctively tempt as Mitchell’s creative thoughts and words tease the imagination, a combination just as potent within its successor, Wolves. The track is a beguiling moment within the mighty lure of Viking, an evocative and thought rendering proposal which wraps around ears like a lover to spark insecurities and emotions within a melodic kaleidoscope which just seduced as it cast our favourite moment within the album.
The album ends with Sitting Here Alone, another song which provoked intimate emotions whilst stirring the senses and body with its intrepid almost predatory character and dynamics.
It is a fine end to another glorious moment with The Outfit. The band’s music embraces a host of rock flavours and a few from outside the genre uniting them all in rock ‘n’ roll which simply brings the day alive.
Viking is out now through Pavement Entertainment across most stores.
Pete RingMaster 03/04/2020
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