Per the press release for Viking, the upcoming new record by Chicago’s The Outfit, the quartet “isn’t re-inventing the wheel, and it never tries to; thats it’s charm”. That said, what they do deliver on Viking still stands out as easily one of the most anthemic Hard Rawk records of 2020.
“Come Alive” is the most appropriate name for the first track on Viking because that’s exactly what listeners will do as soon as they hear the thunderous drumming from Mark Nawara, forceful guitars and the piercing, commanding vocal presence of Andy Mitchell. Mike Gorman’s booming bass tones leads the charge in the laid back slab of Rawk awesome that is “Midnight Moses” while “Believe” treads a line traveled by Alt-rawk greats like Sponge or Stone Temple Pilots.
The true magic lies in how The Outfit utilize bits of that decadent sleaze Rawk of the ’80’s (Think Ratt or The Crue in particular) and combine it with the best Grunge and Alternative had to offer in the ’90’s to really craft such a distinctive sound that’s all their own. The wizard behind the board creating some of that magic is none other than Ulrich Wild, responsible for classics by Static-X and Breaking Benjamin among others, who concocts a winning formula on Viking that’s a cross between Bob Rock’s Dr. Feelgood and Brendan O’Brien’s Core.
But I digress!
“Carnival” is a rawker with massive choruses and “Bleed In The Dark” is the beautiful mid-tempo Alternative classic in the making which is part STP, part Jane’s Addiction with its’ experimentation. The title track is a punishing riff rawker with Mitchell’s biting vocals fighting through the wall of riffage laid forth by Matt Nawara.
“Sirens” is just as heavy with Mitchell belting out sweet nothings during this groove-laden shimmy and then “Wolves” is a penultimate anthem that still shreds like some of the best ballads Ozzy delivered in the ’80’s. “Sitting Here Alone” wraps it all up and offers another side of The Outfit, delving into Mitchell’s vocal prowess during a subtle performance before fading off into the upper echelons of Hard rawk greatness.
Viking drops via Pavement Entertainment on March 27th. You can pre-order a copy now by clicking here or here. For the latest on The Outfit, including where to see them live down the road, follow them on the web by clicking here, here, or here.
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