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Released: 2006, Replica Records
Walking the line between power and prog-metal, perhaps more leaning to the prog-metal side of things, we have the new US band Outworld. If there’s one thing you take away with you, it’s that you have to check out guitarist Rusty Cooley! This shredder stands above most I’ve heard recently. I first heard Rusty a couple years ago online on some guitar websites and then saw some of his videos on youtube. I knew he was awesome back then, but I was hoping he’d wind up in a band with great songs & vocals. That is exactly what’s happened. Although there are awesome guitar parts, the shred never overpowers things too much. Oddly, the soaring and powerful vocalist Kelly Carpenter (whose since been replaced by Carlos Gustavo Alves Zema – the vocalist for Heaven's Guardian, Vougan) sounds more like the dude from Yngwie’s godly TRILOGY album than does Rusty’s playing and riffing sound like an Yngwie clone. Musically, the songs bring to mind Dream Theater, only this comes off as heavier and with better vocals. Either way, fans of shred and prog/power, Dream Theater, Nevermore, and even Yngwie would find something of interest here.
“Raise Hell” starts out the CD with some heavy down-tuned riffage. The keyboards in this one sound a bit weird (like doorbells in the background that don’t fit over the music properly). This was the only song on the album that I noticed this, for the rest of the album the keys are great. “War Cry” starts out with some heavy near thrash-like Nevermore riffing that rules! The vocals on this one would make Halford proud. The soloing and riffing in this one made it one of the best tracks on here for me. The album’s title track, “Outworld”, starts out with clean guitars and some great vocal melodies. Watch out for the bass solo in this one…cool! The guitar solo at about 3:30 in is just awesome, one of the best on the CD to me. “The Never” begins with clean guitars, not in a whimpy way, more of a technical Annihilator-styled clean guitar. After the clean guitars, the riffing that comes in sounds a lot like classic Stratovarius, this is the only song on the album that reminded me of Strato or that had this kind of feel. At 3:30, the feel totally changes to the style found on most tracks, with more of a Nevermore feel. The intro track “Prelude To Madness” begins with some very memorable leads that have a lot of feeling, I really liked how this intro track (it’s just 1:26) starts. Every song on here has something in it that sticks with you and unlike many prog/power releases it really starts to take hold after a few listens.
The combined prog/power metal genre, and especially the prog-metal genre, can get boring fast as the songs often are showcases for musical masturbation. This is not the case with Outworld because along with some of those moments, there is at the core good memorable and heavy songs. It’s that factor coupled with Rusty’s jaw-dropping guitar acrobatics and Kelly Carpenter’s great vocals that put this over the top.
1. Raise Hell
5. The Never
6. City Of The Dead
7. Prelude To Madness
8. The Grey Tide
9. I Thanatos
Matt Smith - Drums
Rusty Cooley - Lead Guitar
Bobby Williamson - Keyboards
Shawn Kascak – Bass
Kelly Carpenter – Vocals
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