Outloud - Let’s Get Serious

Outloud Let’s Get Serious cover
Let’s Get Serious
Sleaszy Rider Records
I’m just a little curious with the choice of a title of Outloud’s third full album as it is indeed quite bizarre – as if the previous “attempts” of the band were, “amateur” and now the band decides to get “serious”? There have always been quite a few line-up changes and a few people that were previously in the band or had auditioned, have been claiming certain things, but that’s a whole other story and the current studio line-up is without any doubt from a musical standpoint by far the strongest.
This is however a little bizarre as in certain moments there are some “points” in certain songs, where in the name of showing off their chops and virtuosity the players slightly seem to forget to play for the song and just go off the deep end.
The opener “Death Rock” has a bit of that extravagance, but at least it’s not to the point where, you completely get distracted, you get impressed, but initially I was thinking like WTF? Have these guys lost their mind, or has George Kollias, who performed the drums on the album, mistaken this for a Nile album?! Haha, it sort of starts a little, irregularly and has a few WTF moments for a melodic metal album song... ah, no matter. Parts of it, during the intro as well as some of the melodies reminded me a bit of Crimson Glory’s “Strange and Beautiful” sped up, considerably and has some rather, tasteless screams, that supposed to be an attitude and rebellious filled “call” to all rockers or something I suppose?! Sure thing... if the productions was a bit more massive and Chandler Mogel a more massive and masculine voice, I might have been convinced… but the production however clear and balanced is rather not that powerful to support a song almost bordering on power metal on sounding THAT big and Mogel just shrieks, instead of “Screaming” for vengeance…
I Was So Blind” happens to be the leading single of the album and was turned into a video thankfully by someone else, other than Bob himself, allowing for some “perspective” and lack of bias. It features the band playing in some sort of club while an impressive red headed female is making an appearance dancing around passionately and is quite a melodious offering that will remind you in general of a big pastiche of mellowed out and uber harmonized Scorpions (“Big City Nights”, “Passion Rules the Game”, “When You Came Into My Life)” that actually works pretty well, in this reinvented form.
On “One More Time” Outloud's mainman Bob Katsionis collaborates with the well-known Greek (bouzouk master) composer Foivos and together they sign off a rather glorious and dynamic piece of summery hard rock... that would make even the great Bon Jovi envious, if it didn’t sound entirely derivative, of several of his hits and some of his lesser known numbers, slowed down and sweetened. Nice lead by the way. Well can you teach an old dog new tricks? Maybe...
Bury the Knife” is a more melodic mid-tempo number, rich in keys, with a rather impressive chorus, that starts up with echoes of something that sounds like a pop version of Dream Theater, covering some British rock band in a twisted way, there’s a chord progression there that I’m sure the Maidens or Thin Lizzies and even the Skyclads of this world might have used and sounds awfully familiar... so it’s not terribly original. (I even roughly was sort of recalling “No More Lies” by Maiden, “Cancer of the Heart” by Skyclad and the like and I pretty certain, if I actually busted my head a little more there’s actually a pretty identical melody, as this one out there, but hey this might be completely unintentional)
Like a Dream” is a simple number, that mixes pop and wimp rock sensibilities, quite nicely, with a chorus that seems to remind me of something “recent”. Well at least, seems to have drawn an awful lot of inspiration, almost like again a bit of a “parallel” sped up universe… but sulking over that is just brushing the issue under the carpet. Or is it a crushing “weight” on someone’s “chest”, I indeed wonder?
It Really Doesn’t Matter” is an acoustic ballad, that’s actually not bad at all, as it’s quite emotional and the delivery is pretty heartfelt, perhaps one of the better songs on the album, even if in comparison with a lot of the others it feels under-produced even a little, vocally rough (at least the way the backing vocals are mixed/sounds, leaves an awful lot to be desired) .
Another Kind of Angel” begins with an annoying sounding keyboard lead, (really couldn’t Bob find a better sound? It both sounds dated and cheap ass, unless he was going for that). Mogel, puts in a really good performance, but the song, apart from a semi convincing chorus is somewhat and some sugarcoated melodies that you’ve heard before, seems like it has been lifted from a bad 80s soundtrack.
All in Vain” seems to be part of the same soundtrack, but fares a little better, having a nice key/guitar riff combo driving it and a nice melody that Mogel, playfully goes around... as well as a nice climaxing solo.
A While to Go” tries a bit too hard to be some sort of rock ‘n roll overloaded epic and it’s not too bad, with its wimpy chorus, if not a little too simple, but I suppose it gets the job done... so why should I whine?
Let’s Get Serious” is of all things a quite spirited instrumental, with ample displays of musical chops, and a melodic slowdown in the middle, that’s actually quite note-worthy as it actually displays some pretty nice facets composition-wise especially in its latter part where the melodies become more intricate and quite smartly accommodate the need to speed up again the proceedings.
Toy Soldiers” is a harder edged and fast paced song that’s not very much in tune with the rest of the material on the album, as it’s much more heavy metal, even if it’s pretty melodic in its core, it features a guitar solo by Mike Orlando of Adrenaline Mob but overall, feels a little out of place, even if it’s not a bad song per ce.
OMD’s “Enola Gay” is a well-known disco hit and the band does a lighthearted disco-rock cover of it.
What’s totally “killing me” about this release is the totally random numbers of sales and plays that the band is supposed to have. I mean the actual press release, from the band/company that we got quotes 8000 + and I take it as “valid” something that the band could possibly prove with “sales proofs etc.” but then some sites that are well known for doing “paid” ads, decided to just add, randomly a few thousand sales, and a couple of hundred thousand plays, not realizing, that that would be easily spotable and would make their “clients” look like dorks. This could well be a “misunderstanding” you know, but… oh those impressions are to wash off...
All in all, this seems to be Outloud’s most solid work as far, with the newer members of the band being vastly better players than their predecessors and the overall songwriting a step up from previous attempts. Even the “inspirations” and “influences” are better amalgamated so they’re hard to tell apart… from the “sources”. And while, previously, Bob, had been accused of actually plagiarizing melodies, which might have been true, too, this time, he seems more “inspired” rather than “going” for an almost note for note approach. I guess either they love to “put down” a template of their favorite songs and try to write something similar, or it might happen to them subconsciously – but the fact remains that several songs tend to have similarities, in melodies, lyrics or mannerisms, that are hard to overlook. Now in a world, that pretty much everything has been “done” and you’re quite likely going to rhyme night with desire and fire, it’s granted that results are not going to be, extremely original, look no further than bands like Manowar – who must have some sort of program than randomly produces lyrics and titles with combinations of kill, die, glory, tits, beer (ah, that last one might be actually treading Tankard territory)... so, I’ll give them the benefit of doubt… but still, a little more effort for originality would make them better imho, since they seem to be overcoming the line-up inefficiencies and the initial hiccup and to be developing a bit of a dynamic/chemistry at least between the steady band members.
The production and overall direction could have been a bit better but overall, it’s a rather decent effort, with a nice summer vibe. Wouldn’t say no, to catch some of those vibes on a beach, (along with some STDs as the good old Steel Panther would say, haha) with a cold drink in hand while chilling out! I might actually do take a tune or two with me on my player… why the hell not. I did actually enjoy this album, with all its minor “shortcomings” (ie, being a bit generic and a bit derivative). It’s well performed and good fun, so I can’t really whine too much, as I said, while imitation is great flattery and Outloud, does that well, they also seem quite capable of doing it on their entirely on their own. Now shape up or slip out, Outloud! Get serious!