Reviewed by Bec Hennessy
I was pretty damn impressed when I saw this Melbourne hardcore outfit support Refused back in 2012. And when you consider that the Refused reformation & tour was all my teenage dreams come true, for anything to penetrate that cloud of exhilaration is saying something.
They are a band with a lot to say much like Refused, Earth Crisis or Rage Against Machine. One track in, vocalist Jelena is screaming “We’re trouble. So we’ll be troublesome” – and it put a defiant ‘fuck yeah’ smile on my face.
Their debut album Avalanche is a familiar hardcore mix of punk’s frenzy and metal’s heavy hard riffs. Careening around, bouncing off walls looking for an exit, a release. The mood could be mistaken for tense but it’s more focused. Determined. Opener Troubled spits venom at sexism and a great introduction to the bands musical and political ethos: Hard. Fast. Strong.
Avalanche is the appropriately chosen title track. For the whole album feels like a build up of emotions rushing toward us, now the band has decided it’s time to scream them loose. “Snowflakes pressured into icy boulders, all it takes is our one strong voice, to bring the avalanche”; Jelena’s strong voice pushed to breaking over heavy riffs.
The murderous opening bass line of A City Silent is met with punishing drums and vocals so far past breaking point it hurts. Lyrics speak for themselves “I saw you beat her, I saw you shake her, I saw you spit and deprive her soul” and “When we avert our eyes, we’re all complicit in, everything our painful silence hides“. It brings to mind Zack De La Rocha‘s words in ‘Fistful of Steel’ “Silence. Something about silence makes me sick” – the message the same in each instance. This mad girl grips the microphone like a fistful of steel, and she’s firing shots at ignorance and apathy.
I often feel instrumentals on albums to be a bit cliché/superfluous/ill placed. But when Old Roots lurches in, it feels right and perfectly timed. It feels like we take a breather leaning against the wall, gulping air and regrouping before launching back into the fight. And then the fight rages on.
Iron String urges us towards self-reliance, whilst Rapture examines religion and Barbarian takes aim at nationalism – all spat/urged with beautifully brutal vocals charging at you alongside an onslaught of fast hard riffs.
Just like the opener – New Seed is a well-chosen closing track, encapsulating their sound and attitude . “Learned to believe that the sky may fall, the world against me beyond my door, the growing dread tells me to hide away, but I’ll take control – I won’t be afraid of today“, bringing to mind one of my favourite Refused lines “Rather be forgotten, then remember for giving in“.
The group effort shouts and pretty acoustic ending fitting, reminding us what I think Outright are all about – there’s beauty and hope in this world if we believe it. And work together.