For Fans Of
It’s not difficult to see what Outbreak were shooting for with this release, short, fast, pissed off skate/hardcore punk appeals to a lot of kids out there and it’s obvious that the band knows their target market well. With the longest track on Outbreak clocking in at 2:30, and a good number coming in under the one minute mark, there isn’t really time for any great melodies to be created and built on in any of these tracks. While I understand that this genre of music isn’t based on creating good melodies, it also means that the passion and anger in the musical and vocal delivery need to be genuine and top notch to get my attention. Unfortunately, this is scarcely the case with this record.
Frontman Ryan O’Connor’s vocals certainly fit the bill for getting the message across in a fast, aggressive manner. After a few spins though, one grows weary of the bitterly whiney nature of his nasal delivery, and it quickly becomes akin to the sound of a bratty teenager struggling to deal with the harsh realities of life in a mature manner. It’s not that good things can’t be done with this kind of music. Kid Dynamite, for example, built on the same kind of abrasive vocal delivery by giving it melody and rhythm that comes from playing for an audience broader than that of the typical street punk crowd.
Guitars and drums are largely on par for this kind of music, fast and on point, never flashy, but at the same time never really outstanding.
Production duties on Outbreak’s namesake release have been left in the ridiculously capable hands of Jim Siegel, who has recently been responsible for records by This is Hell, Death before Dishonor and has long been associated with Massachusetts heavyweights Blood for Blood. While the spit-shine clean production on Outbreak lends to a generally pleasant listen, I can’t help but think that a more raw, gritty approach would have lent the album a more authentic feel, and would have provided a foundation better foundation for the youth crew vocal chants and taken some of the treble out of O’Connor’s incessantly whining voice.
Worth a listen if you’re keen on fast, angry, snotty punk tunes – but there’s nothing particularly interesting about this release and it’s all been done better before.
1. A Sign Of Things To Follow
2. Human Target
5. Temporary Hype
6. In The Digital World
8. Multiple Personality Disorder
9. Sedate Me
10. (Work)ing Dead
11. Warning Signs
12. The Countdown Begins
13. Too Paranoid For Politics
14. Don’t Want To Fade (To Death)