Outbreak - Outbreak (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Outbreak (2009)

Think Fast!

Hardcore is all about hard work, and there's no denying that Ryan O'Connor and the rest of Outbreak had to severly step up their game after hitting some unfortunate speed bumps. The odds were against them, but they said "fuck the odds" and wrote the best album of their career. Punk as fuck, right?

Yeah, it is punk as fuck, so it's no surprise Outbreak has taken on a traditional punk/hardcore sound rather than their old thrash ways. That's not to say they've gotten soft; whether it's the youth crew-influenced "Human Target," the old-school punk feel to "Temporary Hype" or the vaguely metalcore breakdown to "Sedate Me," the aggression is still there, but their songwriting is more concise and varied. Moreover, there's definitely a hard rock element to their sound; the aforementioned "Temporary Hype" has a driving single note riff and the concluding track "Concealed" has some light-speed scale runs that ensure energy without resorting to being untastefully thrashy.

Track 11, "Warning Signs" is a mid-tempo melodic hardcore song where O'Connor shows us some of his most dynamic vocals: less snotty, hardly yelled. It's the amount of variety that makes Ryan Eyestone's artwork that much more relevant: crazy, vibrant, and all over the place. But unfortunately for The Blasting Room, though very dear to my heart, they should not have been the place for recording this. The old-school feel of the artwork and sound would be best complemented by a rougher recording -- it only really benefits the music on the quick start/stops, anyway.

When a band writes a self-titled album, it's assumed their intent was to define themselves -- their sounds and their politics. Outbreak does this while producing relentless punk rock tunes in the process.