Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Outrage - Go to Hell (2011)

There have got to be a dozen or more bands with the Outrage brand name, and yet these Germans have shared the handle with the once great Japanese band for perhaps the longest stretch. Formed way, way back in 1983, they were a demo level act who took a huge hiatus until the 21st century, then suddenly kicked off a productive streak that involved no less than five self-released records from 2004-2010! You'd think most bands might give up by that point, but not this Outrage: they are stubborn as hell and quite competent at what they do, which is a mix of straight old school speed/thrash with vocals and lyrical concepts that place them slightly into that same black/death metal category that spawned Venom, Bulldozer and more recently bands like Sweden's Bewitched.

The premise is simple: play music that sounds like a serial killer or cultist is stalking the listener through a foggy, dark night in a city of brick, smoke and offal. The guitar tone sounds enormous, even if the riffs being flogged out are all quite simple and derivative of hundreds of speed, thrash and heavy metal acts over the span of decades. I am not going to lie about it: there are not many guitar progressions on this album that are all that thrilling, but the actual sound and execution here definitely highlight the experience of their creator (Udo F, 'The Bringer of Doom'). What's more, the vocals of 'The Voice of Hell' Frank P are nothing more than brutal and bloodied barks which feel like a rabid dog biting at your heels as if they were kittens. That is, until he emits the hilarious shrieks that often turn up at the ends of vocal lines.

Point in case, the song "Astaroth" where he bounces back and forth during the chorus over the Hallows Eve-like mid-paced riff. Admittedly, this is a bit goofy sounding, and not as manic as something Tom Araya might have issued forth in his halcyon days; but there are certainly a lot of fans of old thrash or speed metal who will enjoy the contrast without doubling over in laughter. I was not one of them, at least not on this track, but it could have been worse. There are certain songs here that I actually enjoyed quite a lot, like the arena-sounding rush of "The Inner Contract", Hellhammer machismo of "Into the Abyss of Belial" or the thundering, faster paced follies of "Slave Trader" and "Refugee to Beyond". But the rest straddle the lines between average and only mildly enticing, and most of the leads on the album competent but forgettable.

In summation, I can't say that I loved or really enjoyed Go to Hell, but neither did I dislike it. There is a market for this sort of sound, and obviously its progenitors love it a great deal, so fans of early Hallows Eve (Tales of Terror), Slayer (Show No Mercy), Sodom or the more brute, recent works of British legends Venom might get something more out of the album, especially when one takes into consideration that most of the tracks here were written in the 80s and are being polished up here from their demo incarnations (which are also available on a new comp the band has out).

Verdict: Indifference [6.75/10]

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