Outline In Color

Jury Of Wolves

Written by: TL on 08/12/2012 15:54:44

In a year when we have had to say goodbye to both Alexisonfire and Underoath it seems more legitimate than ever to ask the question; what has 'post-hardcore' become other than a word used to describe bands that, regardless of the elements of their music, have members that look something like these guys? It seems that all the decent bands have either disbanded or gone off exploring in other musical territories, leaving the scene at the mercy of what I like to think of as this decade's nu-metal - Bands like Asking Alexandria, Of Mice And Men, Issues and the likes, whose mindless combinations of simplistic breakdown riffage and autotuned clean choruses have drained the genre of almost all sense of promise.

It's become so bad that even a once devout follower of the scene like myself, now struggles to summon up interest for the new bands that gain attention in it. And at first glance, Outline In Color look like just another band for me to complain about. The constituents of their soundscape are even the same that many other bands in the genre trade in: metallic riffage, raging screams, synths, theatrics and stratospheric clean vocals. Yet the band's new album "Jury Of Wolves" has appeared to me like a ray of sunshine in a clouded genre by simple virtue of the rare ambition it embodies. Basically, with bands like Asking Alexandria and Issues making music with levels of intricacy comparable to this, it makes a record like "Jury Of Wolves" feel like it has elegance comparable to this. Don't get me wrong here. Outline In Color are very much a scene band and hence "Jury Of Wolves" is of course packed with music meant to make you mosh and with lyrics that, while catchy, are occasionally a bit dodgy. What makes me not hate it is that the band have clearly invested thought in making layered and dynamic compositions that offer something to listen for, and on more than a few occasions things actually add up to some pretty potent moments.

Exhibit A: The combined effect of openers "The Kindling" and "Another Nightmare", the former setting the stage with dramatic singing over growing ambiance and piano chords and the latter blowing the album's doors of the hinges when the rhythm guitar comes crashing in and both piano and lead guitar trickle melodies down over the scene while clean and harsh vocals trade blows centre stage. The production is state of the art, so the muscles of the rhythm guitar, bass and drums has the necessary punch, and yet the clean melodies stand out delicately. It's arguably the most powerful moment of the album, and I understand the choice to open with it, but that's not to say other songs don't also shine with occasional brilliance: "Jury Of Wolves" and "Karma Made Me An Arsonist" have catchy, calmer intros before each get wilder and wilder, "The Chase Scene" has a great refrain towards the end, and for each of these catchy moments there is of course plenty of solid aggressive parts that should get fans pumped up to wreak some havoc in the live setting.

Still, "Jury Of Wolves" clearly is not a perfect album. For that there are too noticeable stretches that send the listener's attention wandering. The problem I think, lies in the band's focus having been on the raw complexity of the material and on the power of its production. You just get the feeling listening, that if they stay on this path for a year or two, the band will get to a level where they will be capable of making their various ideas serve the songs even better, so those songs will become stronger individually, as opposed to now, when "Jury Of Wolves"' flaw lies in it feeling a bit samey down the stretch.. - Mixing things up late with the balladic "I've Had This Dream Before", a cover of NSYNC's "It's Gonna Be Me" and a stripped down version of "The Good In Me" doesn't do enough in my opinion. Anyway, that's what I hope happens, but of course, the band could also just choose to dumb things down to the level of their peers and attempt to take a short-cut to more young fans. Please guys, don't do that.

Download: Another Nightmare, Karma Made Me An Arsonist, Jury Of Wolves, The Chase Scene
For The Fans Of: A Skylit Drive, Chiodos, Alive In Standby, In Fear And Faith, Yashin
Listen: facebook.com/outlineincolor

Release Date 25.09.2012
Brkn Records

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