EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: Outlaw – Most Wanted [EP/2014]


Artist: Outlaw

Album: Most Wanted


The world has descended into disorder; strife and social conflict reign as king and queen over modern mankind. What started as murmurs of dissent and dissatisfaction soon blossomed into flourishing displays of anti-establishment aggression. Major cities that stood as bastions of progress are now buried in turmoil—those who abide by laws are now lifeless, and Outlaw reigns as king. As heavy, oppressive down-tempo music becomes more and more a staple of extreme “-core” subgenres, the harder it gets for bands to truly stand out and make an impact with their blend of brutality and bitter misanthropy. Fortunately for Illinois-based deathcore infidels Outlaw, they need not worry about if they’ll make an impact, but rather, who will survive after they’re through. Comprised of former Villains and Demolisher members, Outlaw are ruthless, relentless and ravagingly heavy—and Most Wanted is murderous proof thereof. Combining crafty, intense riffing with practically perfect percussion and the most bitter and aggravated vocals since Villains’ Extortion, Outlaw is the bastard child of Rooks’ groove, Villains anger and Bermuda’s technicality—and this bastard son is here to spark a revolution.

Violence—chaos and carnage at its most pure and base form, as human instinct need to survive outweigh the man-made scaffold and structuring of laws, balance and order. However, it isn’t just thoughtless acts of depravity that define the maelstrom of mankind’s rebellion—it’s also tactical, insidious and organized attacks on the things we once held most dear. This combination of dissonant disorder and clever, crushing aggression is the perfect analogy for Outlaw’s instrumental dynamic. Most Wanted is a combination of wonton riffing and brain-melting fretwork combined with carefully placed breakdowns and brilliant song structure that culminates in cutthroat experience that will bleed every ounce of sanity out of the listener. From the first punishing chug of “The Heist,” guitarists Dilan Stameski and Jakov Muzikoski are a raw, relentless force to be reckoned with. While one slams into the listener’s head like a sledgehammer hitting wet concrete. The chaos continues throughout the EP—but especially on Most Wanted’s lead single, “Threats,” where after a series of tantalizing trade-offs between catchy, crafty riffing and crushing chugging, Stameski and Muzikoski drop the charade and let loose with an absolutely eviscerating breakdown that would make Gandhi start crowdkilling. The climactic breakdown in “Threats” is made even meatier by the raunchy, intense boom of Jonah Friberg’s low, writhing bass guitar. Throughout Most Wanted, Friberg is just barely audible, adding a thick layer of grime and sludge to Outlaw’s bouncy, gut-busting percussion. However, even when Friberg isn’t front-and-center in Outlaw’s instrumental dynamic, the listener never questions his presence—as the band’s musicianship and instrumentation is some of the thickest and punchiest that heavy music has to offer.

Riots, looting, carnage, destruction—it isn’t just violence for the sake of violence, there is a point—a purpose—and it pierces through the resonating dissonance and crushing clamor of Outlaw’s insane instrumentation. The violence has a voice: the screams, shouts and bellows of vocalist Matthew Barry. Barry is the preacher in a church of carnal, violent aggression—and he is as immersive as he is angry. Most Wanted is a lyrical manifesto of social discontent, belted from the top of Barry’s lungs, boasting an impressive spectrum of harsh vocal mastery. “Bella” is a haunting, captivating track which showcases Barry’s beasty, guttural bellow—while “The Heist” is the perfect lead in to Barry’s vocal style, as fans of Villains’ Extortion EP will instantly find solace in the familiarity of Barry’s shrill, sharp scream. Whether it’s low, high or in between, Barry’s vocal performance is consistent and comprehensive, hitting every pitch and style imaginable and leaving no creative stone un-turned. His bitter bark and gruff shout flow perfectly with Most Wanted’s more hardcore, beatdown-tinted elements, while the gritty, grimy lows and highs Barry lets loose brilliantly match Outlaw’s penchant for punishingly heavy deathcore.

Pulse pounding, fingertips tingling and vision red, the listener simply cannot help but get caught up in Outlaw’s outstanding, uproarious revolution. Most Wanted is, without a doubt, the strongest offering to the unique down-tempo-meets-beatdown style of deathcore that took 2014 by storm. Whether it’s the one of a kind instrumentation—or the equally unique production and mixing—or the visceral, thought provoking and ear-catching vocals, Outlaw are simply unlike any single band out there. “Delta” is an experience which practically denies description, rather begging to be heard and experienced, while “The Heist” has some of the best lyrics and catchiest vocal patterns this side of Freudian Slip. In short, Most Wanted has every ounce of power, speed, weight and energy needed to take the music scene by storm and start a true-to-form revolution.

Cities reduced to rubble, laws torn apart and burned—society in shambles. That is the future that awaits civilization after Outlaw run their course. Poisoning the blood and life-force of heavy music around the world, Most Wanted is an unquenchable, insatiable disease that stands to consume any release that stands—or stood—in its path to reigning supreme over all things brutal.


Rating: 10/10

For Fans Of: Villains, Bermuda, Barrier, Victims, Rooks

By: Connor Welsh