Bob Katsionis is one busy dude. As guitarist / keyboardist for seemingly hundreds of bands, this Greek metalhead seemingly doesn’t sleep. In 2008, along with fellow Firewind man Mark Cross (who is equally busy!), Bob formed his latest outfit, the appropriately titled Outloud, with some friends and one of his guitar students, Tony Kash. Sharing a love of all things ‘80s, the band quickly set to work on their own brand of commercial ‘80s metal, with the result being their self-titled debut.
As I said, these guys obviously love their ‘80s metal / hard rock and aren’t afraid to throw massive amounts of hooks into their music. No doubt about it, this is music built for the arena and all the delusions of grandeur associated with that. While I doubt that Outloud thinks they’ll be headlining Wembley any time soon, there’s definitely no reason not to play like it! Opener “What I Need” sets the tone with speedy riffs that show off the fret-burning heroics that Katsionis and Kash are capable of. It’s also a great introduction to newcomer Chandler Mogel’s powerful and smooth vocals. He effortlessly soars over the music and leads the band. It’s a very impressive performance from a relatively unknown talent.
Back to the music, the band covers all the tricks of the hard rock canon. What makes it work is that every riff and every cymbal crash is played with such intensity and conviction that you just can’t help but smile and rock out with them. It’s obvious that the band is having a blast playing this stuff and their enthusiasm is infectious. Of course, it helps immensely that the songs themselves are pretty kick ass. Yes, the ballads are a bit of a bore (“Lovesigh” especially!), but that’s more than made up for with awesome rockers like “Wild Life” and the anthem of 2009 – “We Run”. What a great song.
If you have any fond memories of ‘80s hard rock, then you owe it to yourself to check out Outloud.
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