Rise Records have produced and brought attention to some brilliant bands over the years, from Of Mice & Men to Memphis May Fire and tonnes of others. Another band on that prestigious metal label is New Jersey outfit, Palisades, and just like the most famous recent offering from that state, Jersey Shore, ‘Outcasts’ brings excitement, anger, a party atmosphere but ultimately leaves you with a slightly sick taste in the mouth.
The album opens with the simplistic introduction track, ‘We Are All’. It doesn’t offer much in terms of energy or anything like that, but it does give the album an atmospheric start, something that’s important when trying to distinguish the overall tone of the thing.
It’s only up until we’re into the second song that we get a feeling of where we are in terms of the band’s style and where they’re taking us with this effort. Hard hitting vocals mixed with the soft semi-autotune sounding ambience that many of these types of bands bring to the table. The screams however really hit home and sound fantastic, depending on whether or not you’re a fan of the poppy choruses then the songs here may be divisive or amazing.
The punishing guitars marry well together with the background electronics on the title-track and lead single, but when the electronics start fudging up the vocals and become too intrusive in the climactic stages of the song, that’s when most will lose patience with this over-produced garbage. Just listen to the stuff Tyler Carter is doing with Issues to hear interesting electronics. There’s no need for that studio gadgetry to ruin the songs, but here it does.
Take the subsequent track, ‘A Disasterpiece’, it would actually be a fantastically catchy number if weren’t for the annoying tripe that’s constantly plugging away in the background. Heck, the band might think that they’re doing something interesting when they keep pulling out the vocal glitch effect, but it just becomes really tiresome, and that’s only after having the album on for ten minutes.
It’s quite frustrating when a band quite obviously have a lot of ability to make catchy yet heavy songs but then spoil it by adding turgid effects, as if they’re the first band in history to do that sort of thing. By the end of ‘Outcasts’, it’s a hard task in picking out highlights or anything that doesn’t sound derivative. The irritation that you feel on the breakdown of ‘Betrayed’ is enough to make your head swell up.
It’s difficult to know just how much longer this band will stay on Rise Records, as they’ve got more in common with Snooki than fellow Rise Records bands like Miss May I. Not even a laughable acoustic number can save this as unfortunately it just verges on self-parody rather than anything that comes close to being emotive. But hey, at least that’s the one track where they leave off the electronics, but then we’re back to business with final track ‘Scarred’, and then it ends. And breathe.
Written by Greg Spencer