posted on 8/2006 By:
Like speed, anger, vehemence, recidivism, and power chords? Chances are you’ll like Outbreak’s Failure. Like creativity, exploration, dynamics, and complex arrangements? Stay the hell away. Like the vast, vast majority of traditionalist hardcore acts, Outbreak isn’t looking to do anything but peel the paint off the walls of the local basement venue and incite its patrons to sweaty circle-pitting. This is cranked-up punk rock at its most basic, and your enjoyment of this album will hinge on your appreciation (or tolerance) for two things: high-energy performance and low-content songwriting.
All things considered, these guys do a pretty solid job of the trad ‘core shtick on their second album. Failure’s sixteen tracks average out to about a minute a piece, and the songs are what you’d expect: generally barreling and frantic, with little regard for melody and less regard for variety. The closest comparison I can think of is a slightly less short-fused version of vicious punkers Find Him and Kill Him, including a similarly shredding vocal performance and the occasional ominous drum’n’bass intro. The lyrics vocalist Ryan delivers are devoid of posi bounciness and generally focus on…well, failure and the like, but convey neither the snarling, sarcastic viciousness of The Suicide File’s Dave Weinberg or the poetic spirit of a Catharsis or American Nightmare. That said, his delivery might be the high point of Failure, as his vocal patterns effectively and memorably accent his punchy, raspy howl.
But sadly, not much else here is particularly outstanding. My problem with this kind of record is that for all their sincerity and intense emotion, they’re oftentimes documents of a time and place that’s relevant to the band and their associates but repetitive and dull to a remote observer. Failure obviously means the world to Outbreak, but the long path of sweaty basement shows and low-budget living that led the band to this album can’t really be conveyed to the listener by the derivative music…especially not with scads of other, similar acts playing the same style just as convincingly. Competent, but not colorful enough to stick.
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