Outsmarted – The Amoral Ranger

By paul

Hello eardrums! ‘The Amoral Ranger’ opens up fast, impacting and fierce enough to blow away any Sunday morning cobwebs. Not a bad start really for Austrian quintet, Outsmarted. And as far as debut albums go, this isn’t a bad start either.

Outsmarted essentially plays melodic hardcore at the more accessible ‘easier-going’ end of the spectrum. The vocals are never really given that brutal push, and the musicianship nods towards old fashioned rock music as much as pummelling beatdowns. If anything, tracks like ‘Sex Degrees’ and ‘The Fall of Jack Mulligan’ hark back to the days of Atreyu peeking, and certainly not to some of the haircut bands in the scene.

‘The Amoral Ranger’ is loaded with energy, a trait that actually prevents the album from slowly sinking into a quagmire of mediocrity. Check the vigorous drumming on ‘The Doctor Is In’, or the aggressiveness of ‘Vampires’. There’s a sense of urgency oozing from every pore. Had the Linz outfit not put everything into this record there’s a big chance that this would have been easy to pass over. Instead, we’re offered a solid recording that has enough merit to warrant a spin or three, as well as documenting a band that seems on this evidence worth catching live, at least if the vigour on CD translates to your average gig dive.

By no means is this a truly essential album. It lacks in any really stand-out moment, and hints at a little monotony – as much a comment on the melodic hardcore genre as the release itself – but it’s well executed and impeccably constructed. And importantly, what it lacks in deviation, it makes up for in energy, a trait that marks Outsmarted out.


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