Canadian hardcore legends Comeback Kid are back with their sixth record, Outsider, an album that’s filled with pounding drums, crunchy guitars, featured artists, chant-along choruses, and frontman Andrew Neufeld’s signature melodic screams. In fact, it’s those melodies that make Outsider stand out among other hardcore records, including a lot of the releases in Comeback Kid’s own discography.
Jumping right to the good stuff, my favourites on this album are “Moment In Time,” “Somewhere, Somehow,” and “Recover.” “Somewhere, Somehow” sports a very straightforward, yet effective thrashy guitar riff, powerful verses, and probably the catchiest chorus on the album. While “Recover” is another upbeat song, but in a major-key with melodic guitars and gang vocals that help give the track a strong A Day To Remember vibe.
Although each song is hard-hitting, not all of them have as lasting an impact as I was hoping. “Livid, I’m Prime,” “I’ll Be That,” and “Hell Of A Scene” are good examples of songs that are fast for the sake of showcasing more aggression, but don’t have as much musical or lyrical substance as the rest of the tracks. “Hell Of A Scene” is probably my least favourite of the bunch. The breakneck speed verses with a sudden transition to a melodic and slower chorus don’t blend well at all. They sound like two separate songs pulling back and forth until the runtime is up.
The featured artists on this record were a bit underwhelming as well. There’s nothing wrong with the songs, or the performances themselves, but Chris Cresswell of The Flatliners and Devin Townsend’s names are hardly worth being on Outsider’s tracklist. Their screams are mostly buried alongside Neufeld and aren’t easy to pick out unless you know what you’re listening for. On the other hand, Northcote’s lines on the closer, “Moment In Time,” are a great mood-setter and add more personality to the haunting chord progression.
Outsider is an aggressive record with some great chant-along choruses and tons of head-bangable moments. The thing I admire the most about this album is how Comeback Kid was able to write a handful of hardcore songs that each have their own personality and place in the record. A lot of hardcore bands can do one thing, and do it well, but Comeback Kid experiment a bit with the songs on Outsider, and that gives this release a lot more depth. The production helps that as well, providing massive sounding instruments that aren’t always so in-your-face. There is a faint crackling in the distorted guitars which is easily buried and hardly a distraction but made me think my headphones were damaged when the intro riff to the opener kicked off the record. Small details aside, Outsider is a good album, and I cannot wait to hear some of these tracks live.
Check out my interview with Andrew Neufeld about the new album here.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy