Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Outcast - Self-Injected Reality (2008)

The French have been offering quite a few quality offshoots to the Meshuggah-inspired brand of mathematical metal. You've got the excellent Gojira with their brooding, organic flow to the formula. You've got GTI who are a pretty impressive clone of the Swedes with a few riffs that could even show them up. And now you've got the sophomore effort from this band, which is, frankly, un fucking real.

Lavish the mathematical chug and groove of that 'M' band with excellent solos and technical thrashing riffs which recall the excellent German scene of the late 80s and you might formulate an idea of what this band is capable of delivering. Rinse all that in some meaningful, decent lyrics, and dry it all off with a re-formatting of groove and musicality that will have you listening over and over, many times.

Yes, this is THAT good. It's as technically impressive as it is memorable. The guitar work is insane, which might not be that much of a surprise if you consider Nicolas also plays in the French progressive death metal band Symbyosis. I could go into a lot of detail on this record, all the songs are so good and have so much depth, but I'll pick out a few for now lest this last for pages on end. "Allegiance" begins with a complex, grooving thrash riff which instantly draws the ear. Erupts into a sick math/death metal groove, then the vocals arrive and it gets even denser as an all out Meshuggah-like, yet faster section enters. And then the breakdown...gods what a breakdown. Wilfried's vocals, while the most monotone aspect of the album, are that perfect math metal bark which roots the entire album in aggression.

Most of the songs have this consistency of welding together the perfect elements of aggression. "Hysteria". "Autonomy in Progress". "Denial of Elapsed Time". All fucking scorchers. Even the breaks in the action are great, like the blissful "Materia Prima" and its subtle guitar textures. Perhaps the most glorious track "Deviance" is saved for the very end, it's incredible.

Any fan of extreme, progressive metal need check this band out immediately, it's one of the most impressive things I've heard this year and one that I won't stop replaying for quite some time.

Verdict: Epic Win [9/10]
(jesus christ, listen to this already)


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