Album Review: Outlands – Grave Minds

Music has been and will continue to be the most powerful tool for healing internal wounds. Whenever you are alone and don’t know where to turn your favourite song will be the shining light to guide you through the end of the tunnel and on to brighter things. Especially within the metal community bands have always been heralded as being lifesavers and the catalyst behind people getting back on their feet. The latest in the long list of groups looking to influence people’s expelling of demons is San Diego’s Outlands who with their debut ‘Grave Minds’ will be wanting to lift spirits as well as form pits.

Opening with the Nu-metal grit of ‘King Of Dust’ and blueprint chug of ‘Regenerate’, Outlands lay all their cards on the table pretty early on. All the cliques of modern post hardcore are on show. Ear niggling hooks, clean cut choruses, the odd woah-oh and creeping riffs paint themselves all over the majority of ’Grave Minds’ like a thick smog that wont let anything in or out. The title track grooves with positive intentions while ‘North Carolina’ flails with ambient leaning spookiness, and while there is nothing actually bad hidden within these tracks, there isn’t that spark to make them remarkable. With so many bands pushing forward their positive messages and intentions for the next generation it often becomes claustrophobic and hard to distinguish one group from another. That is where that extra ounce of ommph comes in handy and unfortunately there is an overwhelming feeling that Outlands are lacking it.

Onwards and upwards though and ‘Disconnected’ brings one of the first real glimpses of progress with its deep set bounce and piano led sentimentality before ‘Heartless At Home’ brings colossal melodies and gang chants together with spiky electronics. It is strange to say that for a post hardcore act Outlands really come into their own when they slow things right down. Eclipse bubbles with delicate beats and angelic vocals to create a lasting taste of sadness and poignancy. Closer ’Losing Sleep’ sees the band going out on a high as well with every ounce of their motivational feeling being pumped into its building bulkiness. With that extra push behind them , Outlands could be holding onto something rather sincere and powerful, but without that they sound at times like they just going through the motions of what is expected of them.

’Grave Minds’ is all well and good when consumed as a straight forward positivity glazed hunk of post hardcore, but the problem is that that is as far as it goes. The sentiments are pure and the riffs are tight but if Outlands want their billowing enthusiasm to reach out to the audience they crave they need to break out of the cruise control routine they are in and shift into 5th gear sharpish. The moment they do that, things could become a little more interesting.


Grave Minds by Outlands is out now.

Outlands links:

Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)


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