Outline In Color has been making a name for themselves ever since their debut album Jury of Wolves in 2012. After signing to Standby Records in 2013, the band went on to release their highly anticipated second album Masks. While the album had some standout songs, it felt a bit rushed and didn’t feel like the band reached their full potential. With the bands third album, Struggle, due out March 11th, the question brought up most was…does the band finally reach their potential and return to the sound that made them popular? Or does it once again fall flat of the sound that took them to new heights and allowed them to become a critical darling? The short answer — Absolutely a return to form.
With Struggle, you see the band finding their stride and will see them causing huge waves in the scene. Sonically, the album sounds like Jury of Wolves on steroids; essentially everything thing about Struggle feels supercharged. There are huge choruses, infectious hooks, bone crushing breakdowns and electronic and orchestral elements skillfully weaved throughout. The album is bursting at the seams with emotion and despite its hefty 14 track 54 minute run time, the album has very few dragging points.
Vocals have always been one of Outline In Color’s strengths and they continue to shine here. Their focal point has always been a sort of Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde style with KC Simonsen’s crisp, brooding, melodic singing combined with Trevor Tatro’s frantic and brutal screams make for fun combination. Songs like “Silencers”, “Alive” and “Eat Your Heart Out” feature some of their catchiest choruses yet. As is commonplace with every OiC album, there is also a slow, love song. That song is aptly named “Something We Can Dance To.” It’s a nice break from the usual chaos and is sure to be one of the fan favorites on the album.
“Sonically, the album sounds like Jury of Wolves on steroids; essentially everything thing about Struggle feels supercharged. There are huge choruses, infectious hooks, bone crushing breakdowns and electronic and orchestral elements skillfully weaved throughout.”
The instrumentation on the album isn’t anything overly technical, but it more than gets the job done. The vocals and catchy hooks have always been a trademark of Outline In Color so its no surprise that many times throughout the album they seem to be taking main stage while the instrumentation takes a backseat. The album is full of your standard post hardcore riffs and bass lines backed up by frantic, fast pace drumming. There isn’t much experimentation, but overall the instrumentation is engaging and it by no means takes away from the album.
Overall, Struggle ends up being the bands best, most dynamic release yet. Each song stands on it’s own and there is plenty of variety to keep the listener engaged. You can sense how much work and effort was put in this record. Their attention to detail is at its best with this release. They subtlety weave in electronic and orchestral elements throughout that make the album even more enjoyable. This album is an early contender for AOTY and is sure to put the band under the spotlight. Don’t sleep on this band and be sure to pick up Struggle on March 11th!