1. In A Perfect World 2. Suffer 3. Persist And Destroy 4. Out To Win 5. Trust No One 6. Through The Lies2002 Triple Crown Records
Technically, this is the debut effort from Pennsylvania's Out To Win. However, this is basically the same band (minus a few members) that released several records under the name Mushmouth. Fans of Mushmouth will be glad to know that despite the name change, these guys still play no-frills metallic hardcore. As in their previous records, you won't find any acoustic ballads or emocore on this one, just straight-up beatdown type stuff. As both Mushmouth and I are from the interesting town of Reading, PA, I've been listening to them since about 1996, and since that time, they really haven't changed much. If nothing else, I'd say they're starting to sound slightly more metallic than hardcore, though it's nothing dramatic. This effort consists of six tracks, including a song off their [Mushmouth] Triple Crown debut "Out To Win" (confusing with the name change). The first track "In A Perfect World" pretty much exemplifies this entire effort, with constant double-bass action and thick vocals from Chris Henzel. His voice appears to grow more powerful with each release, and he's definitely got one of the more distinctive screams out there. Unlike the "Out To Win" album, on which the vocals were recorded very dryly, without effect, the vocals have more reverb to them this time around, and even a few delay/echo effects at various points. As for theguitars, they sound like they always have, particularly because the two guitarists have been with the band for years and haven't really changed their sound. There are lots of chug-style grooves and metallic riffs. Breakdown after breakdown, these songs don't vary much from a dynamic standpoint, as they're more or less full-cylinder throughout the entire album. The most effective track on here is "Suffer," a bulldozer of a track, which should make any mosh-happy kid's day. Another solid track is "Trust No One," with it's slamming breakdown and incessant screaming from Henzel. Lyrically, things haven't changed either, with standard tough-guy stuff, such as "You'll reap what you sew - unrelenting, unforgiving. You'll reap what you sew - I'll rip your heart out." This isn't poetry by any stretch, and if that's what you're after, then look elsewhere. Also of note is a newly recorded version of "Out To Win," which is the track that appeared on their first full-length. This is essentially the song that got me into Mushmouth years ago. I can't say this one is any better than the original. It's really no worse either. It's a good song, and the only major difference between now and then is the sound of the drums. Speaking of which, this is my only real complaint about this effort. While the recording as a whole is definitely good, the drums lack the power needed to solidly anchor these guys. In particular, the snare drum is way too low in the mix, and can barely be heard at times. This may not affect some (less picky) listeners, but for me, it did manage to slightly detract from the listening experience. Bottom Line: I like these guys because they don't try to do anything above and beyond what they're realistically capable of. They've chosen to stick with the same style they've employed in the past, and frankly, they're damn good at it. This is a major improvement over their last album "Lift The Curse," and almost on par with "Out To Win," though the aforementioned snare drum thing and the fact that this is an EP prevent true equality. They have a new name, but that's about it. If you're into tough, nicely-paced hardcore with a metallic facade, then you really can't go wrong with these guys.
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