Some debuts simply hit the ground running with genius and power. Such is the case with the album from Greece-based Outloud, a new project begun by Firewind members Bob Katsionis (k,g) and Mark Cross (d), and featuring Kastsionis' guitar protege Tony Kash. They flew in Chandler Mogel (of Talon) fame for some impressive lead vocals, and then rounded out the band with Tony's best friend Jason Mercury on bass and Mark Cross (Firewind, ex-Helloween, Metalium, et al) on drums. The result is a smashing melodic hard rock album.
Straight from the gate you're greeted by a galloping, sleaze-tinged, hard rock number with Mogel giving an ambitious and nasty performance. From here it only gets better as Outloud brings some very crafty and catchy hard rock numbers which echo the days when melody and harmony mattered. We Run, Tonight, and Search For Truth are genuine toe-tapping, or pedal-to-the-metal driving, songs. Tonight is blessed by an infectious beat and some tasty Toto-like keyboard embellishments. Later, on Breathing Fire, Wild Life, and Outloud by example, the crew delivers some classic hard rock songs with a slightly heavier feel and sometimes brisk pace without losing one bit of melody. The disc also contains two traditional ballads: This Broken Heart, good but a little cheesy on the lyrics; and Lovesigh, better with Mogel's passionate convincing vocals over acoustic guitar.
Throughout Outloud's debut I was continually impressed by the expert and vigorous musicianship especially from Mogel, Kash, and Cross. The vocals and vocal arrangements are simply superb, a lively and tight effort. Finally, kudos go to, the always expert, Tommy Hansen (Helloween) for his excellent mix and mastering which gives Outloud an immaculate sound.
Outloud's debut is simply brilliant: a fantastic album of bright and infectious melodic hard rock, and easily on my short list of top ten albums of the year. Great stuff! Highly recommended!
Outloud's debut is simply brilliant: a fantastic album of bright and infectious melodic hard rock, and easily on my short list of top ten albums of the year. Great stuff!
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