Awaken the Reason (2012)
France, Listenable Records, Progressive Death/Thrash Metal
Outcast has a lot of the individual pieces that make for a great technical death metal record – that is, if they played technical death metal. This five-piece transmits an atonal and progressive take on thrash/death, with a focus on the thrash.
Awaken the Reason stars Meshuggah dissonance, which shares the spotlight with rough mid-ranged shouted vocals, bleak djent melodies (stifle that groan, they are very well done!), and occasional techdeath spurts (in the tradition of later Anata). Some low growls and thrash riffing add variety via supporting roles. It sounds like a lot of elements on one stage, but Outcast directs the show seamlessly – and manage to avoid all the annoying djent pitfalls.
The inorganic sound of modern metal can be alienating, but Awaken the Reason embraces this sound and twists it into a positive: the album looks like a cold grey hallway trafficked by advanced robots (the technical moments) and illuminated by rays of sunshine (the djent melodies). Obzen-era Meshuggah fans will certainly dig the dissonance. Denizens the of semi-underground may enjoy the abundant yet complex melodies (reminiscent of Tesseract), which are delivered though a half-sung/half-shouted alternative to gurgles and growls.
And for the Brain Drill and Viraemia fans? Although Outcast doesn’t writhe in the crypts with Defeated Sanity, nor travel the cosmos with Origin, Awaken the Reason has enough atonal technicality to win over harsh cynics – this reviewer included.
Rating: After the first listen, I thought Outcast would sound better “deathened up” (or down?). Now, I think quite the opposite – stripping away the proggy thrash elements would be tearing away what separates Outcast from the weedly-deedly, ultra brutal bands. Reviewing the band as a death metal band seems unfair. Hence, NO RATING.
Author: Witness to the Void