The Outfit – Self Titled

Like the band’s name, the sound of US rockers The Outfit borders on the unassuming while embracing an array of familiar flavours. Yet, with its devious hooks and rousing dynamics, it equally reveals itself as one bold, tenacious, and stirring affair; traits all going towards making the Chicago band’s self-titled debut album one thickly enjoyable slab of rousing rock ‘n’ roll. It is a great contradiction which it has to be said hits the spot from track one to song nine, a stirring proposition declaring The Outfit ready to welcome world attention.

Consisting of musicians who have plenty of well-earned experiences, The Outfit was formed in 2016 by brothers Mark (drums) and Matt Nawara (guitar), Mike Gorman (bass) once of  Pezband and Off Broadway, and Andy Mitchell (vocals/guitar) who lists the likes of Dish, Verona, and 9 Volt on his CV. Their first album is a major nudge on widespread spotlights, the band looking to build on their reputation and success in their home city’s rock scene and it is not hard to expect it to stir up such widespread reactions.

As its opener coaxes ears, riffs and rhythms instantly collude in a feisty lure, spicy grooves emerging from their bait with the excellent vocals of Mitchell. Wire just as rapidly shares recognisable hues, hints of bands such as Seether, Breaking Benjamin, and Saliva adding to its own stylish enterprise. Inescapably infectious and increasingly addictive, the track gets the album off to a strikingly potent start which continues with Lucky One. It too grabs ears with real eagerness, richly enticing vocals and lively hooks joining the joyous stroll of the rhythms. In little time the song had the body bouncing and vocal chords boisterous as an electronic undercurrent and band harmonies got the imagination crowing. As with the first and many other tracks, there are no real surprises yet the song is insistently fresh and rousing.

A calmer air is brought by TKO, its Three Days Grace meets Chevelle breath and emotive heart nothing less than captivating while latest single, Soldier Boy, whips up an earnest rock ‘n’ roll saunter with energy in its spirit and vitality in its craft. Vibrant melodies unite with warm harmonies, flying beats with an earthy bass rumble, all bursting through ears alongside creative resourcefulness which is as anthemic as it is intimate.

A definite Sick Puppies hue colours next up Unfolds, the track an irresistible bold croon with power in its touch and heart in its call, all capped by one delicious hook within another enslaving chorus. It is the album’s pinnacle though closely rivalled throughout the album and especially by the rock pop romp of Just as One and the melancholically graced imposing balladry of Miracle, a track also showing essences of the aforementioned Australian rockers to fine effect.

No Lights On with a similar colour creates a web of steely lures soon after, guitars and vocals leading the song’s dexterous way driven by the lithe swings of drum sticks and the brooding amble of the bass. Nagging ears and imagination second by second with moments of further fevered harrying, the song is superb, another highlight setting up the raucous rock ’n’ roll finale of Hot Love. A slice of hard rock with classic instincts, it is a riotous charge of contagion bringing one spirit sparking release to a fitting and fine conclusion.

As suggested earlier, The Outfit in sound and album are not breaking out into brand new pastures but we suggest you will find few better bursts of virulent and exhilarating rock ‘n’ roll this year.

The Outfit album is out now through Pavement Entertainment on iTunes and other stores.

Pete RingMaster 06/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

October Rage: Outrage

A sturdy and fiery merger of riotous rock n roll and sizzling melodic rock, Outrage from Australian band October Rage is an album which either when rampaging with eager energy or is enveloping the ear with fine melodic craft, makes for a thoroughly enjoyable and invigorating experience. The band and release sits easily amongst the likes of Saliva, Shinedown, Hinder, and Nonpoint. It may not stand out as anything ground breaking but has a freshness and spark arguably lacking in the recent releases of those other bands. If you are looking for an adrenaline driven yet thoughtful and warmly enterprising time than Outrage is a rewarding treat to party with.

From New South Wales, October Rage began in 2008 with brothers Nick (vocals/guitar) and William Roberts (bass). After a long search which took them to looking as far as America, the band was completed with the addition of Rory Bratby (drums) and Tim Ciantar (guitar), two musicians they had been to school with though in different years. Now complete the quartet built a strong local fan base which their debut single of the following year, Silver Line, took to a wider recognition. Recorded with world renowned producer Adrian Hannan, the release marked the beginning of a definite rise for the band. They soon followed this with a performance in front of a 50,000 strong audience in Sydney supporting Bon Jovi, an opportunity brought from winning a radio station contest. The latter part of 2011 saw the band entering the studio with again Hannan, to record Outrage. Since its completion the foursome has toured the US supporting both Steel Panther and Sevendust as well as undergoing a line-up change with guitarist Josh Gilbert and drummer Alan Toka replacing the departed Ciantar and Bratby. As the album stretches around the globe the band is pulling in more and more devoted followers, which with the infectious and strong sounds it offers is no real surprise.

From a relatively unadventurous opening intro instrumental in Lords Of Wyrd, the album sets to work on the passions with the rampant Set You Free. Within seconds it has ears pricked and senses open to charged riffs and thumping rhythms. With strong vocals from Nick and an anthemic gait to its chorus, the track is a familiar but enterprising encounter to fire up keen enthusiasm. As mentioned earlier about the whole release, there is nothing strikingly new going on but as limbs and the sparked unbridled eagerness to get involved with the song shows, there are plenty of energised reactions to its strident sounds spawn.

Moving into the equally robust and energetic Wayside, the release has a full captivation ensured. Like its predecessor the track is a thumping engagement which just leaves one breathless and invigorated, the great guitar craft and raging intensity tempered with scorching melodic invention, a fuse to deeper pleasure. It is from this point that Outrage unveils its varied and impressive strengths. Songs like the next up Silver Line with its mellower pace and less urgent caresses and its successor Rain, expand the scope of songwriting across the release. The second of these two is a simmering heat with sonic explosive outpourings of tremendous vocals and equally dynamic guitar invention. With a snapping bass and jabbing drum smacks to add steel to the song, it is a contagious companion to rile up the heart.

From the more than decent radio friendly sounds of Home and the seductive tones of Supernova, its rock inspiration seemingly drifting in from the expressive rock of bands like Nickleback, the album moves from a gentler yet potent breath to a more sinewy attack with songs like the bluesy Eastern Road and the snarling Metallica like Two-Sided Blade. Whilst neither song finds the riot of the earlier songs on the album, they offer a bite and muscular intensity for another shift in the diversity of the release.

With two passion soaked slow songs, Into the Night and Under The Wind, sandwiching a grungy tinder box of a slow burner in Reign of Fire for a closing trio of strong emotive ballads, the album leaves thoughts and emotions on a high if calm plateau. It is a fine end to what is an impressive album. With more careering slabs of rock n roll like Wayside, Outrage would have challenged personal end of year lists but without doubt October Rage has delivered one of the more gratifying and energising releases these past months. Make a note of the name as the Australians will be making big waves ahead in rock music ahead.

RingMaster 14/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Zeroking: Kings Of Self Destruction

Enthusiastic and unfussy yet openly addictive is the only way to describe the latest album from US hard rock band Zeroking.  With an obvious intent to have and give the fullest of best times Kings Of Self Destruction simply leads the ear and emotions on a boisterous and mischievous rampage through insatiable riffs and fully loaded melodic enterprise. It is not the most inventive or ground shaking of releases but it sure is one of the more eagerly enjoyable.

Formed in 2005, the Huntington West Virginia quartet of vocalist Andy Haught, guitarist Shane Day, alongside Paul First and Chris Webb on bass and drums respectively, took no time in garnering strong attention and growing acclaimed from their debut EP Sweet Sale Of Excess in 2006 and the sharing of stages with the likes of Anthrax, Twisted Sister, Bobaflex, Jackyl, Dope, Black Stone Cherry, and Airbourne, as well as impressive appearance at various festivals. Listening to their album it is no surprise, the impossible to ignore songs a feast of infectious melodic imagination and feisty addictive riffs and honest rock sounds. As mentioned there is not anything particularly startling or unique to the release but do not mistake that for it being flat or boring. Kings Of Self Destruction is a thrilling ride from first song to last, a familiar but inventive party to fully engage with from beginning to end.

The recording of the album began with producer and engineer Steve Riley mid 2009 and last year saw Zeroking release the EP A Taste Of Self Destruction which featured three tracks from the album as a teaser and followed previous single Stone Cold Bitch/Girls of California, the pair of songs also appearing on the release. Both garnered impressive acclaim and marked the album, as one to eagerly or impatiently wait for.

From the opening Dead Rock Star the band unleash a riot of sounds and songs which recall a brew of flavours from the likes of Guns N’ Roses Motley Crue, Saliva, Seether, and Buckcherry to name a few. Anthemic and rife with the best rock/metal tendencies, the album pulls you to your feet from the off and leaves it breathing heavily and sweating satisfaction. The opener incites only enthused responses to its familiar and compulsive sounds. It might play like an old friend but it is a fresh and vibrant returning buddy which lights up the senses and invites full union, something you can tag the whole release as.

The following Forget Vegas with its breezy swagger and flashy horns immediately is evidence to the diversity across the album soon backed by She Said with its twisting riffs and brooding bass sounds of First. It is a more reserved saunter through the ear than previous songs though still has the impetuosity which endears across Kings Of Self Destruction.

Showtime Revolution is an immediate highlight as soon as it entraps the ear with addictive hooks and a melodic infection to ignite inner fires. The guitar of Day is an electrified bristling delight whilst the rhythms of Webb jab and punch with the precision of a middleweight to drive the song home wonderfully. Vocalist Haught as on every song is an impressive focal point without distracting from the quality the rest of the band offer every time.

Songs like the sexy blues bar room joy Southern Lady, Ex-Godiva, the mesmeric Love Is Dead featuring the fine emotive voice of Stacee Laswson, and the aural contagion that is the title track, lead the senses into more devilment with a varied and wicked glint in their individual eyes. Again the music is uncomplicated, immediately your best friend, and completely infectious. To be honest hard rock has never been our favourite flavour at the RR but when it comes with such vitality and pleasure as that brought by Zeroking there is not a whisper of complaint to be heard.

The excitable metal veined treat which is Girls Of California leads the climax of the album to be ably supported by songs such as the teasing and incendiary stomp Black Friday and the majestic emotive ballad Valentine, the release continuing the strong and open diversity it started and persisted with.

    Kings Of Self Destruction is an excellent riot of rock n roll sure to find a home in every rock and metal heart. Honest and without pretensions the release is nothing but enjoyment and Zeroking a band who deserves more than a minute of any ones time.

Ringmaster 04/07/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Allele – Next To Parallel

Though it is fair to say Jacksonville, Florida rock band Allele (pronounced Uh-Leel) come from a pool of sound that has spawned many similar sounding contemporaries there is certainly a freshness and vibrancy about the band that raises them above and sets an individual marker down against most others. With their new album Next To Parallel the band bring a passion and vitality that many rock releases and bands seem to lack with consistency and though there is still that kind of similarity across the thirteen tracks with other bands it also gives a familiarity that brings an instant intimacy in the bands favour.

The band was formed in 2002 by vocalist Wally Wood and ex-Otep guitarist Lane Maverick releasing their debut album Point of Origin in 2005. The following year saw the band contribute the track ‘Stitches’ to the THQ video game ‘WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007’ as well as being featured in trailers and promos for the TV Stephen King anthology series, ‘Nightmares and Dreamscapes’. Began in 2010, Next To Parallel is set to take the band and their music deep into the hearts of hard rock fans far and wide and to set Allele to the fore of the genre.

As the album plays the band deliver songs from the same field as the likes of Three Days Grace, Slaves To Gravity, Sick Puppies, Nonpoint, Saliva ……but there is something inspiring about their music that elevates them from just another band with the same sound basis. Certainly they instil a connection with the listener that goes beyond the ear with emotive sounds and lyrics that grab deeply and firmly.

Let It Go ‘opens up the release, its winding and building pulse erupting into great vocal control and delivery from Wood and striking guitar play over eager rhythms. Though not a track that lets loose with a vengeance it is still powerful and forthright making a strong opening to the album, a strength that continues through the next track ‘Closure’ and beyond. This track has a personal feel, something common to most songs on the release. The tracks across the board seemingly close in a personal way if not to its creator to the listener, or someone they know. This is another reason their sound connects to the listener, Allele write and bring to reality with their music things that all have felt or been affected by in some way, things one can relate to whether personally or through the world’s current turmoil. 

Amongst the abundance of great tracks are those that stand out that little more like the two tracks fuelled with a harder edged aggression in ‘Feed The Wolves’ and the harsh attitude of ‘ Stay Down’. The band can lay down intense riffs and sonic sounds just as easily as the melodic and infectious hooks, and with these two combine both instinctively. ‘Answers’, ‘Hurt ‘, and the impressive title track are equally noteworthy as the album is as a whole. More melodic and measured in a way they still carry an intensity that is felt effectively.

Next To Parallel is thoroughly enjoyable and if it does not attempt to break down any doors into new originality and directions, it without doubt brings to the ear music that satisfies and entertains with more accomplishment and passion than most other bands treading the same musical road.  Allele have and give everything one would want in a band, mesmerising melodies, highly charged riffs and senses touching emotions wrapped up in gratifying rock music.

Next To Parallel is available now on Goomba Music; make it a stop on your musical journey this year.

RingMaster 26/09/2011 Registered & Protected


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