Outrage AD - New Blood - (3/10)
Published on February 16, 2019
Genre:Death / Thrash
I often see the phrase ‘Speaking as a…’ to be a euphemism for ‘talking out of my ass’. But, speaking as a Christian, my feelings towards its representation in the metal genre fluctuate massively. There are acts whose music is phenomenal and interesting, whilst still tackling the potential lyrical controversy with grace – such as Deliverance (pre-1991) or Theocracy. Then there are acts who wave their ideology around like a floppy penis while producing an equally flaccid bare minimum required to be called ‘metal’ – such as Deliverance (What A Joke era), or…Outrage AD. These Canadians are an oddity in that they existed back in the mid-’90s (as simply ‘Outrage’), producing two demos, then completely disappearing until reforming in 2013. They released their debut full-length New Blood in 2015 and…now they’re releasing it again! This time with the backing of a Christian extreme music label and with a slightly re-jigged track order.
Incredibly ironic title aside, New Blood offers death/thrash metal which, on paper, appears to be in the vein of Demolition Hammer or Solstice. Unfortunately, this record is more akin to Massacre’s 1996 disaster Promise in that it plods away, dull riff after dull riff, dragging out every boring idea like a forced yawn. The sound ranges from grinding mid-tempo death metal, through occasional NWoBHM sections, to energetic almost-thrash. The opening track – hilariously and creatively titled “God” – exhibits these traits and displays the worst of the album in one 5-minute package. It has the pseudo-thrash main riff, the trad metal chorus section and a segment of growled vocals which gets in everyone’s way like a spinster at a wedding. Did I say 5 minutes? Because it feels more like 2,000 years as these sections whirl round and round in fucking endless repetition…
Things don’t improve any time soon, as the follow-up track “Mass Of Life” shambles its way out of the speakers with insanely boring chromatic chug riffs and a directionless structure for more than six minutes. Could that ending be any lazier? At this point, the absolute weakest aspect of New blood is plainly clear: man, these vocals suck. The twin vocal attack of Mart Marion and Nick Richer involves a tuneless bark reminiscent of a narcoleptic Paul Baloff, a peculiar shriek which seems to be used mainly for effect rather than conveying lyrics, and your average death grunts which…honestly aren’t that bad. If the record consisted purely of the growled vocals, that would be at least one point up.
So, what do Outrage AD get right? I love the overall timbre of the album. The production quality totally reeks of late ’80s death/thrash and it only heightens my disappointment that such a cool sound was wasted on lame songwriting. In fairness to Nicolas Miqueon, his performance on the bass is quite standout, and he’s allowed to shine with the occasional lick here and there. Also, there is the odd riff that jumps out and makes me want to nod with approval, like the outro of “Emrbyo’s Death”, but they are swamped by the clusterfuck of boredom that surrounds them. The opening of the title-track caught me off guard by its sudden change in sound quality, but quickly sent me back to sleep when the band refused to develop anything…at all.
Any sense of accessibility or memorability are pretty much non-existent. They almost held my attention with the acoustic guitar and mild choral vocals of “Dreams Unto Reality”, but it didn’t take long for it to devolve back to generic riffing and totally aimless vocal patterns…for 7 and a half minutes. This is not the first thrash-related album to disappoint me in 2019, but I was foolishly holding out hope that the Christian metal community could wipe the smug smiles off the naysayers’ faces. Unfortunately, with song-titles like “God” and “Embryo’s Death”, we should have seen this disappointment coming. New Blood is a bad metal album, plain and simple. Wanting to be a brutal force in the thrash/death scene but coming across more like Bootleg Dark Angel.