OUTWORLD - Outworld

Outworld - Outworld

9 songs
57:29 minutes
***** ****


Three years ago, Texan guitar shredder Rusty Cooley surprised me with an exceptionally interesting instrumental album. Although I am normally not too fond of guitar hero antics, he succeeded in capturing my attention with his intricately fast playing techniques. His solo album concluded with two vocal tracks, which must have been like a hint to the future, as of Fall 2006, Rusty Cooley is back with his band Outworld which has already been founded in 1997, but nearly took ten years to finally release their self-titled album. And what an album it has become! Rusty Cooley, the master of the seven-string guitar, is not without a reason the seventh fastest guitar shredder in the world. On Outworld, he and his band play mind-blowingly fast neo-classical heavy metal the way it used to be in the good, old Mike Varney Shrapnel days, and I feel often enough reminded on that label's better bands like Vicious Rumors and Cacophony. The songs which nearly always are longer than six minutes are full of instrumental artistry, and vocalist Kelly Carpenter (now no longer a part of the band though) adds typical high-pitched yet powerful metal vocals. There are guitar solos galore, but also the occasional keyboard and bass moments to captivate you.

The two last songs (Grey Tide and I, Thanatos) even run for nine minutes, showing the band's more progressive side, and it's no surprise that members of Dream Theater and Nevermore are outspoken fans of Outworld. Combine the progressiveness of Dream Theater with the hard-edged power metal force of Nevermore, and you can imagine what Outworld sounds like. Although I must confess that my favourite track on the album is Riders, with five and a half minutes the shortest song on the album.

If you feel comfortable with over-the-top guitar driven heavy metal music and can still smile at the progressive self-indulgence of the genre, then Outworld have released one of the most delivering albums of the year 2006 which anyway will very soon be over.

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