Outline in Color - Jury of Wolves
Record Label: Brkn Records
Release Date: September 25th, 2012
I first heard these guys through an ad on Facebook two years ago, right around when their first EP was about to drop. I remember thinking "This is actually pretty good quality for some local band from Oklahoma." The thing is, I was a freshman. In high school. So what did I know about music? Chances are, I still don't know shit about it. But you know what I do know? This album, while not deviating from the example set by fellow post-hardcore bands, is pretty decent, and lemme tell you why.
On their debut full-length, Outline in Color has displayed both a maturing evolution from their last release and a sense of maturity and identity within the scene. Sure, they're generic. And yeah, there's tons of chugs and electronics and all the other things almost every other metalcore band and their grandmas have nowadays. But these guys proved with this record that they can have all that and be a bit different from the rest. Each member is clearly pretty good at what they do, but vocalists KC Simonsen and Trevor Tatro and drummer Austin Mcferrin are the ones that really shine. Their contributions to the band's music help propel them to a place above the rest and provide for an interesting and entertaining listen.
Lemme start with the vocalists. I'm not gonna lie, I'm absolutely in love with Simonsen's voice. I'm one of those guys that gets reeaaaally turned off by a mediocre clean vocalist in any hardcore band, so listening to this guy wail was refreshing. I don't really know how to describe his voice, but I'd highly recommend listening to them as an example. He has a range most guys (and some girls) dream of, he can riff like a motherfucker, and his tone is smooth and natural, three things we definitely can't find enough. Tatro is almost a perfect juxtaposition. Tatro's screams are something we've heard before, but with a twist. His growls are really rough sounding, almost frightening in a sense, which is something (I might be weird, but...) I found really, really beneficial to the music. His highs remind me of the highly-commendable Mike Hranica's (The Devil Wears Prada), which is obviously a good thing. The two's styles are thrown at each other in almost a whirlwind throughout the album, with call-and-answer sections and some really cool unison stuff thrown in here and there. They add nothing but color to the mix and work extremely well together, representing a tag-team reminiscent of Jonny Craig and Jon Mess on the two Downtown Battle Mountain (Dance Gavin Dance) albums. Already, I've made comparisons of these guys to two very good bands (in my opinion, of course).
The instrumentalists also add color to the music and flow more often than not. Guitarists Forrest Mankins and See Jay Cochran keep things interesting with their breakdowns, sometimes using fast syncopated rhythms that made my eyes widen for a sec. They also include those ambient, melodic 3rd-guitar parts here and there to keep things fresh. This isn't to say that the breakdowns and power-chord-choruses don't get old after a while, but it is to say that there are things thrown in sporadically that recapture your attention and, sometimes, even take center stage instead of Simonsen or Tatro. Mcferrin showcases his talents pretty consistently throughout the album, proving to us that he's not only pretty awesome at providing a solid beat (on a pretty solid set of drums and cymbals from the sounds of it, I might add), but that he can add that little ride roll-pattern in the softer part of the song to add a sense of somberness. Or he can throw in that extra 32nd-note kickdrum pickup on that breakdown to make it that much more beefy. All in all, sure, their music ain't anything super-duper special, but they sure know how to add things to make it interesting.
Okay. I've done enough rambling, so I'm just gonna get to the point. This is a good post-hardcore album; I'd even wager to say "great." Solid guitars, solid drumming, really good vocals, a pretty tight band--there's not too, too much more you could ask for. I'd definitely recommend the eponymous "A Jury of Wolves" or "The Chase Scene" as premier tracks on the record and ones to listen to for a taste of their sound. Their acoustic version of "The Good in Me" is also definitely worth listening to, as well as their cover of "It's Gonna Be Me" (come on, who could not like that song?). If they keep going in the direction they are, it's only a matter of time until Outline in Color get picked up by Rise of Sumerian or some label like that and really make it big.
Stoked to see another fan of Outline In Color. Found these guys out through their collab with Matty on I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost, have really taken an interest in them since. You hit it on the spot, the vocals and drumming really stick out. KC has quickly found his way to be one of my favorite clean vocalist in the scene, and Austin's constant fills never seem to get tiring. Great review, great band!