Outworld - Outworld
Progressive Metal
9 songs (57:31)
Release year: 2006
Outworld, Replica
Reviewed by Cody
Surprise of the month

For us American fans who grew up with weekend television, you might remember sitting down to watch the television show Reading Rainbow (perhaps the oddest way to start off a review? Absolutely!), where young children would describe their favorite books by telling the story and letting the viewer know "if you like adventure, then read this book!", or, "have you ever wondered what living in another country was like? Then read this book!" After listening to the debut album from Outworld, I am brought to that same viewing experience I had as a child watching Reading Rainbow, except now I am the reviewer letting everyone know about my latest musical acquisition. So, with this television show in mind, let me say "If you enjoy virtuoso progressive power metal with high pitched vocals, then buy this CD!"

For those who may not be familiar with American children's programming, let me give you a more straight view of this record. Hailing from the larger than life U.S. state known as Texas, Outworld is a fresh face in the world of progressive metal. Having released a demo in 2005 to rave reviews, the band has come around to releasing their self titled debut full length album hoping to gain some notoriety in a progressive scene that is becoming more and more popular as the years go by in the underground, possibly soon overshadowing power metal as the darlings of the international scene. Does Outworld have the catchiness and the ability to not only gain favor from power metal fans, but also be accepted in the strict progressive club where technicality is key to admission? I would say that not only does Outworld have the ability to gain admission into the world of progressive metal, but they could also develop into an elite player if they play their cards right

What divides Outworld from many progressive acts, is that they are not derived from the Dream Theaters and the Rush's of the world, but rather a combination of virtuose technicality from shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen, with familiar progressive chops and catchy hooks. When I initially started listening to this album, I immediately thought that this was going to be a retro shredding band ala Alcatrazz with high pitched vocals littered throughout the album from Kelly Carpenter, and masterful, yet commonplace shredding wankery in every song for multiple minutes in each, by guitarist Rusty Cooley. However, as the album finished, and I gave the album a few more listens, I realized that not only was this not a retro shredder, but it was an original all progressive band with members who know how to play exceedingly well, and can combine their abilities to write compilations that blow many debut albums out of the water (save Circus Maximus' debut amongst a few others). I was also surprised by Outworld's ability to maintain quite a bit of attitude throughout the album, effectively eliminating any previous misconceptions a listener might have that this would be another flowery power metal act, or some cheesy "80's styled band." Make no mistake about it, Outworld is a modern sounding band that just happened to listen to heavy amounts of neo-classical when learning their instruments. Outworld will most definitely fit into the metal community with little notion of an "old school" stigma attached to them.

My entire experience with this debut album has been positive overall. It's going to take a few more listens to really fully appreciate the vocals as I am not usually a fan of Carpenter's style of singing, which is often times very over the top. However, with a combination of elite skills, and a good songwriting, I was very pleased with my initial experience of this band. I will be recommending this album to not only prog fans, but metal fans of any genre. This is not an album with acoustic interludes and ballads, this is a record filled with the spirit of heavy metal through and through. One could easily lose track of time listening to this album, because it has the knack of reeling the listener in for an aural experience from the first song to the last. Will this be the best progressive release of the new year? I doubt it, as progressive acts are becoming more elite as the days and months pass. I can only hope that Outworld's few flaws that may prevent than from becoming an instant powerhouse, will be cleared up for their second release, which could really gain them some notoriety.

Killing Songs :
Cody quoted 80 / 100
Ken quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Outworld that we have reviewed:
Outworld - Demo 2005 reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
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