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Outshine – The Awakening

Outshine
The Awakening
by Gary Hernandez at 09 July 2022, 5:04 PM

OUTSHINE, the Swedish Goth Rock iteration, formed in 1995 as a project of Jimmy Boman and took on a studio presence as early as 2002. The first of their five albums was released in 2007. The band has done over 300 shows worldwide, including seven US tours, and have supported greats like Paradise Lost. All this, however, hasn’t exempted them from turmoil and trials—e.g., difficult line-up changes, lawsuits, even robberies. Despite the challenges, the band released their fifth full-length album, “The Awakening,” in May 2022 via Rockshots Records.

The Awakening” had a difficult origin with roots in the band’s fourth album, “1313,” which was actually cancelled several months into its release. In the band’s words: “The idea was in the beginning to do a re-release of ‘1313’ since the lyrics and music \[are] so important for the band. It has a deep meaning and is way too important to not be released. But the songs evolved, and also new songs were written during the process, making the album a different set-up all together.” The new songs were produced by Jimmy Boman and Kenny Boufadene at Studio Meltdown, Sweden and recorded and re-recorded numerous times at Grand Recordings, Gothenburg, Sweden between 2015-2019.

The album has a heavy 2020 feel—that is, it’s steeped in histrionics bemoaning betrayal, disappointment, and essentially all other Goth themes except for the best one, vampires. And, honestly, it could have used vampires. Personally, I found the album to be didactic lyrics and mainstream leanings, including the ultimate red flag—radio edits. I qualify my comment with ‘personally,’ btw, as reminder that reviews are only opinions, and everyone is entitled to their own views. I also know that many albums I have problems with actually go on to achieve great commercial success, so it may be my not-so-great review is really a certification for marketability.

I do enjoy the cover art by Gustavo Sazes, though I did find it misaligned with the music. The abandoned chapel encircled by birds (carrion?) against a backdrop of mist-covered mountain woodlands suggest creeping evil with an element of folk horror. Cool, I’m up for that. But the evils that are surfaced in “The Awakening” are a rehashing of all the rants we have been hearing (and voicing) for the last two years and while most of us could relate with those rants at some time, it feels a bit old now. If the album had been released in early 2021, maybe it would feel different; in mid-2022, I think we all just want to move on. Granted, the overall message of “The Awakening” may be just that—now that we are awake to the evils of the world, we can do something about it. But can’t we stop talking and singing and moaning about it and just get on with it?

The musicianship is excellent, as are the production values. The lyrics are a bit overwrought, but Boman’s vocals are good and well-suited for Gothic Rock. The promo material cites TYPE-O-NEGATIVE as an ‘if-you-like’ reference, but I have to give a hard ‘no’ on that. OUTSHINE is dialed down to a much softer and gentler register. Definitely Rock leaning toward Alt. Probably not the thing for most Metal Temple readers but at least worth a listen to decide for yourself.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 4
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. It’s All Lies
2. Our Misery
3. Love is Dead
4. Swe Hates Me
5. No More Reasons
6. Darkness Within - Agony
7. I Was the One
8. We Know Who You Are
Lineup:
Jimmy Boman - Vocals, guitars
Niklas Ingvarsson – Bass
Record Label: Rockshots Records
     


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