In terms of their approach to consistency in hardcore, Comeback Kid are up there with a band like Every Time I Die. They might not be as good, but as far as reliability to deliver first class mosh fodder goes, Comeback Kid are virtually at the top of the pile every time. Even further still, it circumvents the need for any real, noticeable progression; after all, no one comes to Comeback Kid album for a mind-bending spate of reinventing the wheel, and as long as the music hits hard and fast, that’s enough to deem it a success.
That said, it is slightly disheartening to see them six albums in on Outsider still refusing to budge in terms of where their sound goes, only amplified by the guest lineup of fellow Canadians who, overall, don’t add that much to the experience as a whole. But on the other hand, Outsider fares best when judged with that experience at the forefront, and it finds Comeback Kid ploughing a furrow that’s well-worn, but also still has enough life in it to produce another album that shows just why they’re considered a staple in the genre. The title track and I’ll Be That are among another ample crop of spin-kicking hardcore ragers to add to the ever-burgeoning collection, Surrender Control and Somewhere, Somehow have a distinct flavour of punk coursing through their gang choruses, and Throw That Stone brings in some surging grooves to save a final stretch that, admittedly, does begin to sag up to that point.
And honestly, there isn’t much else to say. Outsider doesn’t push any boundaries, but has enough of Comeback Kid’s regular zeal to work regardless. It feels like that was the intention too, especially when looking at the guest vocalists who remain perfunctory presences for the most part; The Flatliners’ Chris Cresswell might as well not be on Consumed The Vision given his total lack of noticeable input, and while Devin Townsend lends some more guttural vocals to Absolute that add some wonderful depth and darkness, he still remains a glorified backing vocalist for the most part. A much better contribution comes from Northcote on closer Moment In Time, with some gravel-throated burrs that may be minor, but, alongside Andrew Neufeld’s screams and a buildup into a slower, more meaty rumble, it’s good enough to suggest that Comeback Kid could thrive in a more metallic direction like this.
Of course, that probably won’t happen in any great capacity. After all, Comeback Kid have worked to perfect their art at this point, and on a purely technical level, Outsider does just that. Whether this will hold up against their other work is totally subjective though, and overall, it’s a bit too familiar to have that effect, but a band of Comeback Kid’s stature and reliability has less pressure on them to come out with classic after classic. Outsider is definitely not that, but it’s another album that’s guaranteed to please anyone who’s interested.
For fans of: Cancer Bats, Stick To Your Guns, H2O
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Outsider’ by Comeback Kid is out now on Nuclear Blast Records.