International thrash-death group The Outside are a four piece whose members come from Israel, Chile and Germany and are currently based in Berlin. With a demo and 2 full-length releases already under their belts, The Outside are ready to drop album number 3: We Feel Through The Dead”, a politically charged record which was born from a desire to see a change in our materialistic, populist minded society. Sometimes, politics and music work fine and other times they go like oil and water. Let’s see if this stands firm or crumbles.

Like a large number of thrash acts who have used social and political issues and events as inspiration for their lyrics and songs, The Outside have an uncompromising approach. Their musical base is built on a solid rhythmic foundation and favours a groove-driven riff-based approach. There isn’t much room for lead melodies or blistering solos which does come as a surprise given the thrash and death metal influences in their sound, but the focus on the rhythm does lead to some heavy and hard hitting riffs. On tracks like “Congregation” and “War Amongst The Poor”, the drums really stand out, almost carrying the tracks they provide the structure for. “Towers Fall” has some great riffs and a slight symphonic feel in places and “To Dismantle” brings with it a hypnotic, hammering feel which is uncompromising in its delivery.

Whilst the release may be musically solid, the same cannot be said for the vocal delivery. The lyrics are clearly audible, so there is little confusion or guesswork to be done on what message the band are trying to convey. The issue seems to be more with how it sounds. Instead of the traditional death metal roars and growls, or the thrashy snarls or shouts, a strangely flat/bland, dual-layered vocal is used. One layer is clear with some slight bite to it whilst the backing layer has a rougher feel to it. When this is added to the music, the end result doesn’t seem to gel well. It is because of this blandness in the vocals, you notice the other ‘bumps’ in the music. The rhythmic aspect may be solid, but the guitars are a touch unremarkable. The sound is there but there is no spark in it, there isn’t a hook which gets your undivided attention. It is just a heavy sound driven by a tight groove.

With this in mind, the overall feel of the release just seems to fall short of any expectation. The passion and the fire are there in spirit, but it seems to be chained down. At times, the fire comes out in the vocals which in places do have some venom in them, but at the same time, the guitar and bass are lacking on the raw power front. The same can be said for the reversal of the previously mentioned circumstances; when the music gets some balls, the vocals fall flat. Only the drums remain consistent and carry the record from start to finish.

Overall, whilst this album stands firm against all the bollocks the right-leaning idiots in the upper echelons of society are trying to force on us, musically its rather shaky and seems to just drift along like a bystander.

(4/10 Fraggle)