Outloud - We'll Rock You To Hell And Back Again
Frontiers Records
Melodic Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
11 songs (44'22)
Release year: 2009
Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
This one sure was a pleasant surprise! With the rather cheesy cover and album title, I was expecting more of an 80's style "sleaze rock" type of band. However, what we get here is a brand new band made up of members of Talon and Firewind including Talon's lead vocalist Chandler Mogel and Firewind members Mark Cross (drums) and Bob Katsionis (keyboards/guitars) who also produced the album. Outloud also includes Jason Mercury (bass) and Tony Kash (guitars) in the line-up. Toss in a killer mixing job by veteran Tommy Hansen and we have one of the better melodic heavy metal albums to come out this year.

The one thing that stands out right away with the very first listen to this album is the band's penchant for excellent vocal melodies and strong, memorable choruses courtesy of the the very powerful and emotional vocals of Chandler Mogel. Quite frankly, he sounds so much stronger here than on any Talon album that I've heard. With a very powerful Danny Vaughn/ Michael Lee Smith (Starz), Joey Tempest (Europe) type of voice, many tracks have choruses that will get stuck in your head and will have you singing/humming them for quite a while. Most of Outloud's songs including the album opener What I Need, use the very tried and true Saxon style of riff-driven melodic heavy metal that was such a staple of the mid to late 80's and early 90's before the grunge movement all but decimated it. Search For The Truth and Breathing Fire are also prime examples of this "riff-driven" style. Whether it's more of a mid-tempo style or charging heavy metal, the riffs are the driving force with the soaring vocal melodies of Chandler Mogel adding the proverbial "icing on the cake". With We Run, the melodies are turned up a few notches with strong arpeggio driven melodic metal and a huge majestic and soaring chorus; easily the best vocal performance from Chandler Mogel that I've ever heard. Things take a turn towards the heavier side with the charging Accept vibes of Broken Sleep, Out In The Night and the very Hammerfall-ish sounding metal anthem Outloud complete with double-bass fuelled power metal. Outloud also nails the obligatory power ballad style of track that no album like this would be complete without. We get two of them here with the very touching and totally acoustic Lovesigh and the huge classic power ballad This Broken Heart. With a nice balance between quiet, acoustic passages and heavy power chord driven metal, Chandler once again delivers another huge and emotionally charged vocal performance.

The only real fault with this album is that the quality dips a bit mid-album with a couple of very generic and average sounding tracks, yet they are certainly not "skippers". The real strengths, and ones that really grab the listener right away, are found with the first 5 tracks which deliver virtually flawless melodic heavy metal in combining catchy guitar riffs, soaring memorable choruses and a great retro 80's style of sound. Although not really all that original, Outloud has delivered a very, very solid debut album here that would've been a chart topper in the mid 80's to early 90's with the style and quality of their music yet, it's still fresh enough to fit into the current modern music scene. Fans of bands like House Of Lords, Bob Catley and Magnum, Saxon and all the great melodic 80's metal of bands like Dokken, Winger, Skid Row and Scorpions should really check this album out and give it a chance. I really thought that this genre was starting to die off. Outloud has renewed my faith that there are still bands out there that can combine great guitar driven hard rock with excellent melodic vocals and come up with something that is still new and exciting for even the most discerning fans of the genre.

Killing Songs :
What I Need, We Run, This Broken Heart, Out In The Night and Outloud
Marty quoted 84 / 100
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