Here's quite the surprise from down under: Australian band October Rage and their debut album, Outrage. I'll be honest here: at first spin, I thought I'm hearing an Aussie version of commercial modern melodic hard rock from Nickelback.
Okay, there's some of that post-grunge hard rock here. But October Rage is better than expected, better than that Canadian band. At the very least, after listening to Outrage, I didn't feel like I needed to take a shower because of vulgar and misogynistic lyrics.
Fundamentally, October Rage follows the best formula, merging classic melodic hard rock with modern sensibility. Outrage delivers deeper heavier rock, bordering on metal, even if d-tuned, with massive guitar riffage, large melodies, and strikingly good vocal harmonies. Nick Roberts is an excellent vocalist: strong and forward when necessary as on Set You Free, passionate and emotional as on Home or Under the Wind. I like listening to him sing, and he can sing.
I've listened to Outrage several times now and, honestly, this album and band can be very addictive. Sure, October Rage can be a little modern rock homogenous as on Wayside and Supernova, but they redeem themselves with other songs. Most auspicious is the epic Reign of Fire, a true arena anthem. If they added some dobro or bottle neck slide guitar, this song could be a southern rock powerhouse.
As a 'heads up,' this album was released in 2011 in Australia. I don't normally review material this old, but October Rage is getting a push in American thanks to a tour and promotion from Dave Tedder's Head First Entertainment. This band deserves as much recognition as they can get: these guys are an entertaining and solid melodic hard rock band. Pick up Outrage when you can. Easily recommended.