DOOMSDAY OUTLAW – Hard Times

Something has happened with Frontiers Records in the last couple of years. Originally, this record label was mainly known for their love of AOR and Melodic Rock and that they managed to give old bands in those genres a record contract to take them back out in the field again – and that was their main purpose for many, many years. Later the label slowly but efficient managed to add Power Metal bands into their stable and now Classic Rock bands have found their way into the company. Inglorious, Bigfoot, Wayward Sons and Cheap Thrills are a few bands that has released great music at the label in the last years and I can see no signs of the label taking a halt at promoting that kind of rock, something I raise my thumbs to. The more diversity the better. And here comes the next band that fits right into that category – Doomsday Outlaw!

Doomsday Outlaw were formed in 2015 in Derbyshire, Great Britain and in 2016 the band – singer Phil Poole, guitarists Steve Broughton and Gavin Mills, bassist Indy Chanda and drummer John “Ironfoot” Willis – self-released their debut album Suffer More to raving reviews which made Frontiers smell the coffee and signed them for the release of their second album, released on June 11. The band did some extensive touring for the debut album and have shared stage with the likes of Electric Boys, Warrior Soul, Stone Broken and Vintage Caravan. The band’s retro 70’s brand of blues-tinged Hard Rock might not be anything new but the band have worked hard on writing some killer tunes and finding their own identity in a genre that’s been filled to top with bands of checkered quality. Since I am a big fan of most of the bands mentioned above, I was really keen on sinking my teeth into this record.

The album opens with the title track, a straight forward 70’s based Hard Rock tune with a very muscular punch and a direct groove. As song, I like it but it didn’t floor me. The refrain is a nice kick but it’s a bit in the shadows and really doesn’t lift as much as I had wanted it to. A good song, no more no less. There is some major Led Zeppelin influences in the fat riffing in second single “Over And Over”. The chorus is filled with hooks and the catchy melodies marries greatly with the rough and mean punches that are the song’s base. Now we’re talking!! The raunchy and rough “Spirit That Made Me” comes with an infectious groove, a distinct melody and a chorus that takes a home-run after first listen. Another killer! “Into The Light” calms things down some as what we’re given here is a stripped, melancholic ballad that holds a beautiful string arrangement in the background and a suggestive melody. Fantastic!

First single “Bring It On Home” is a down n’ dirty, raw and kicking blues-tinged Classic Rock tune with a whole bunch of chunky Zep-like riffs. But there’s no shortage of memorable melodies here, the tune holds a refrain that hits like a ton of bricks and even though it might not be an obvious single, it should go down well at most Rock camps. Brilliant! In that case, “Days Since I Saw The Sun” is more appropriate as a single. This uptempo rocker does come with a Pop feel and especially the chorus goes for a bit more commercial touch. But no worries, we’re not talking AOR here if that thing scares you. No, this is a bona fide rocker but it sports a huge hit-potential. Must be a single at some point. Awesome! “Will You Wait” is a ballad-esque rock tune, slower in pace and with softer laden verses but the big refrain comes with a good punch that strikes where it should. It also contains a big, pompous and symphonic middle-break that holds a cranking, mind-blowing guitar solo. It’s a very dynamic and epic track in all its seven minutes. Pure brilliance!

Next up, “Break You” shows more diversity with its Southern Rock influence mixed with a bad-ass funky groove, horns, harmonica and a bluesy feel – and the damn thing swings like its life depended on it. This is the stuff that leaves me breathless and gasping for air – what a killer! “Come My Way” is more meat and potatoes Classic Rock – heavy, groovy, raunchy and ballsy with a chunky rhythm that feels like a fist in the gut. But again, it’s not all about that – the melody brings on some more catchiness and it’s not possible to not surrender. Very good. “Were You Ever Mine” is a mid-paced, heavy, bluesy rocker, very down-to-earth and meaty. The tune also holds a faster, jam-laden break that roughs things up even more. A real ass-kicker – very, very good. The album ends with the heavy, fat and dark “Too Far Left To Fall”, a song that sounds like a perfect mix of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath but my mind also wanders towards both Black Label Society and Soundgarden in some parts. It’s fat, grungy, moody, hard and very groovy. A total bad-ass and a brilliant way to close the album.

So there you have it. I know that there are people out there that are tired of all the retro-acts that are growing like mushrooms during autumn, but if you dig this type of music one bit then lend an ear to this album because frankly, it’s a great record. And yes, Doomsday Outlaw really do sport an identity of their own and they do NOT sound like every other thirteen-a-dozen retro act out there. Sure, the 70’s holds the base for their music and sure, they do know their Led Zeppelin but just like a band like Rival Sons, they wear their influences on their sleeves but are definitely no copy-cats. What you get here are shitloads of well-written songs, hooks to die for and lots and lots of memorable melodies. The production is fat, robust, in-your-face and very dynamic – raw but not noisy or rattly. It’s easy on the ear without being the least light-weight. Highly recommended!

8/10

Tracklist:

1. Hard Times
2. Over And Over
3. Spirit That Made Me
4. Into The Light
5. Bring It On Home
6. Days Since I Saw The Sun
7. Will You Wait
8. Break You
9. Come My Way
10. Were You Ever Mine
11. Too Far Left To Fall

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