1. Raise Hell 2. Riders 3. Warcry 4. Outworld 5. City of the Dead 6. The Never 7. Prelude to Madness 8. The Grey Tide 9. I Thanatos 10. Polar (bonus Japan)
Some progressive metal bands take the easy way out of their guitar work by playing, essentially, power metal songs with some odd timing and little scale flourishes tacked on the end of the leads. Outworld is prog that's fierce with its attitude and its riffs. Rusty Cooley is a guitar playing alien from another planet. Seriously, Outworld is in dimension Shreddus Extraordinous where time runs at different speeds and somehow they ended up on Earth.
Taking their name from the Mortal Kombat franchise, Outworld’s founding members, Rusty Cooley and keyboardist Bobby Williamson, first came together to record Rusty’s acclaimed instrumental CD, released in early 2003 on Lion Records. Not wanting to be known for shred skills alone, Rusty and Bobby decided to form Outworld as a vocal band in the vein of their own influences such as Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Pantera, and Symphony X. With the addition of Kelly Carpenter on vocals, and the help of other musicians on bass and drums, Outworld recorded a four-song demo in 2004. The demo led to the signing of a worldwide deal with France-based Replica Records, a label affiliated with metal acts such as Angra, Beyond Twilight, and Pyramaze. With the subsequent addition of bassist extraordinaire Shawn Kascak the core of Outworld was born. Outworld released their self-titled debut CD and has since hired Brazil-based vocalist Carlos Zema to replace Kelly Carpenter after they parted ways with vocalist.
Rusty lets you know from the start that you're dealing with a different level of guitar player--the shredder. His seven-string work is on an amazing level and thankfully, he knows that a good, solid riff will carry a song more so than a speedy lick. "Raise Hell" opens with a fantastic staccato riff that descends into highlights of Kelly's nightmarish wailing. "Prelude to Madness", combines Yngie Malmsteen fretwork with Savatage piano runs--one could almost see it as a Chris Olivia (RIP) tribute piece. "City of the Dead" is probably the only number structured and played close to a single with the guitar work more laidback and supportive. Outworld is expectedly chaotic, a mess to anybody not claiming to have prog leanings, but without all of the indulgent noodling. I didn't find riffs that will transcend into the mass audience like Ozzy's "Crazy Train", but for metalheads that that are looking for a challenging listen, this should provide. Think Nevermore and Dream Theater on crank.
Bottom Line: ...arpeggio, legato, modes, phrases...shred metal meets insane prog.
Score: 8.5 of 10
Band site: www.outworldband.com, www.myspace.com/outworld
Carlos Zema | Vox Rusty Cooley | Guitars Bobby Williamson | Keyboards Shawn Kasack | Bass Matt Mckenna | Alien Drums
Note: If you are so inclined, go to Rusty's site (http://www.rustycooley.com) and download a couple of his solo movies.
About this Writer: Frank Hill // Frank Hill has been at this site since its slimy, crying birth in '03. He was born on National Metal Day--11/11 and will turn his hearing aids up to 11 when he's 111. He secretly listens to a lot of old Country and Doo-Wop tunes and wants to start a cyberband with lead vocals by Robot Plant. He is still trying to figure out what Judas Priest meant by "paratamize you". If you read this, then he salutes you.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details