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Released: 2003, Melodic Symphony
This is really cool. Italy’s Underground Symphony, one of my all time favorite metal labels has recently expanded with two sub-labels; Doom Symphony (guess what kind of music they feature) and Melodic Symphony. Outland is the very first signing and first release on Melodic Symphony and it bears the code MSCD-001. What an excellent choice for a flagship release and the title DIFFERENT WORLDS is very appropriate for this new venture from the veteran label.
Outland is a dynamic duo by the name of Jeff Prentice and Rob Nishida. Amazingly Jeff Prentice used to be the vocalist and guitarist of a band called Predator who were signed for one release on Metal back in the mid-80’s. I thought I recognized his name when I opened the totally pro-package. I actually have the Predator cassette, (Easy Prey from 1985) I bought it when it came out, maybe I’ll review it as a ‘Hidden Gem’ one day soon.
The label spared no expense as the band have great packaging and presentation, awesome crystal clear production, lyrics, liner notes, cool visuals, you might almost mistake this for a heavy-duty prog CD if you were to judge the CD by it’s cover.
Outland are melodic rock and AOR and Jeff doesn’t really sound anything like he did almost 20 years ago and Outland don’t sound like Predator either! What they do sound like is classy, slick, glossy, highly produced Melodic rock with enough syrup to make any sweet tooth ache. These ten originals and one cover are pretty sweet, lots of catchy choruses, good harmonies, refined playing in relatively safe and simply constructed songs. They play by the rules and make it work, being neither brash nor offensive. This is quite a nice change of pace for in the metal genre abrasion is often valued very highly.
Although it might sound a bit weak to some of the readers on this sight, if you enjoy the big-time guitar sound of bands like Night Ranger, Foreigner, Journey and maybe even Autograph, Outland will be up your alley. It has it all heart-felt ballads, songs about life, love, and two songs named after girls ‘Valerie’ and ‘Mary Anne’! Along with bands like Talon, Pulse, Mecca and few others (that seem to be the exclusive domain of a few select labels like Frontiers who incidentally distro this disc), Outland are helping spearhead a resurgence of a style that many had thought was dead and gone. I’m here to tell you it is not gone and those who remember a day when Styx and so on ruled the airwaves, check out Outland and quit complaining that they don’t make music like they used too.
2. Love Alive
3. Forever Yours
4. One More Night
5. Mary Anne
6. Strong Enough
7. Last Forever
8. Different Worlds
9. Dream Away
10. Love Cries
11. Take The Money And Run
Jeff Prentice-Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Rob Nishida- Guitar, bass, keyboards
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