Wednesday, February 3, 2016

TAINTED NATION - ‘On The Outside’

Rating: RRRR

Label: Pride & Joy

Review By: Alan Holloway

There’s not many successful tales told of drummers making the move to behind the microphone, yet Eden’s Curse sticksman Pete Newdeck achieved the unusual when he decided to give it a go for Tainted Nation’s debut ‘F.E.A.R’ a few years ago. Joined by the undeniable talents of Mark Cross (Firewind, Outloud), Ian Nash (Lionsheart) and Pontus Egberg (Steamroller), Newdeck spearheaded what turned out to be a kick ass breath of fresh rocking music, and they have all returned to deliver this, the ‘difficult second album/.

It has to be said the Newdeck’s vocals do bring to mind a certain Mr Ozzy Osbourne, although I find that Pete isn’t as whiny (excuse the sacrilege, Ozzy fans), with a modern power that Ozzy’s more interesting habits stopped him from attaining. Although decent vocals are, to me anyway, hugely important, it’s the quality of the songs on which an album will live or die. On this basis, ‘On The Outside’ is as solid an album as you are likely to find. The thirteen tracks are all powerful and melodic, and guitar freaks will delight in some of the intricate work Ian Nash delivers throughout. There are a few decent earworms within, and it’s a strong minded person who can keep the choruses of  ‘Welcome To War’ or ‘About  A Boy’ out of their noggin. By the way, the latter isn’t a cover of the Badly Drawn Boy film soundtrack song, but the band do throw a cover at us halfway through the album with a rather fine rendition of Billy Squier’s ‘The Stroke’. Elsewhere, I felt opener ‘Live & Die’ to be one of the weaker tracks, refusing as it did to leave an impression even after several spins, although second track ‘Defiance’ does a sterling track of kick starting the album afterwards. From then on it’s pretty non stop, culminating in a slower track, ‘Back To Earth’, which is rescued by a blistering solo by Pontus Norgren of Hammerfall.

‘On The Outside’ is a real powerhouse of an album, containing many moments of fist-in-the-air melodic metal and some fine musicianship. It’s not too adventurous, but it shows that the band have their own identity, and means that in the future you will hear a song and immediately peg it as being by Tainted Nation, which is an important quality to have. If ‘F.E.A.R’ won the band praise and fans, then ‘On The Outside’ should continue the good work with absolutely no problems at all.

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