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Until We Are Outnumbered is the debut full length from the Death Metal tinged modern Thrash act The Kandidate, formerly known as The Downward Candidate, and it's surprising to see that this is being released through Napalm Records given it's musical track history of Gothic and Power Metal releases. While the album presents a mixed bag of emotions from start to finish, this release has the potential to grow on you through repeat listens. It's not that this release is a bad release, that couldn't be the furthest from the truth. The fact is the album runs the gambit musically of some really simplistic song structures, to some intense, if not sometimes repetative-sounding tracks.
Right from the start, the album presents you with two ass-kicking tracks with "Strength Through Diversity" and "Give Up All Hope", but right off the bat you'll start to notice that the band focuses on the intensity, with the songs starting to sound a bit repetative due to they're simplistic musical structure. Then you have "Shut 'Em Up" which is just a straight forward brawl song that won't really intrigue you at first, but after a while the track will grow on you. The real shining moments of the album would be the tracks "Distress and Decay", which really shows off the band's full potential of creating a fast pace song with plenty of intensity to grab you by the juggular and not let go, as well as "Live A Lie" which basically does the exact same thing. It's around this point you'll start to understand how the band works and puts the songs together, and Until We Are Outnumbered becomes a rather entertaining album.
The main issue about this release would be the lack of originality. Until We Are Outnumbered doesn't really bring anything new to the table, and actually comes off as if the band is trying to pay homage to Carnal Forge and Mnemic, moreso the latter throughout the album. One could even argue that there is some later The Haunted inspiration thrown in there. However, tracks like "Shut 'Em Up" and the instrumental "We Conform to the Unrighteous" fall rather far from those two comparisons due to a much more toned down, even though "We Conform to the Unrighteous" is a very boring track and can be skipped over without missing anything.
While the biggest downfall is the lack of originality, the music on here is still done well, with the exception of "We Conform to the Unrighteous" which feels like a filler to just add another track to the list. The better tracks on the release are clearly those the faster ones, but there are others that vary musically. "Give Up All Hope", "The Kill" and the very heavy "Enemy" are all worth checking out, as are the rest of the tracks on the album. Until We Are Outnumbered has the potential to be an entertaining release with plenty of replay potential, and if you don't like it at first, it'll start to infect your mind and grow on you the more you open up to it.
Originally posted on Apoch's Metal Review
The Kandidate succeeds on their debut because they obey the cardinal rule which should apply to all bands performing in this hybrid of death, groove, hardcore and thrash metal: they keep their music so damned exciting that you don't have any time left over to complain about its modern nature or pit savvy. Until We Are Outnumbered is not about rolling eyes, it's about rolling heads, and somehow the band manages to concoct a pretty unique mix of the many constituent genres from which they take influence. You'll hear the thrash and death metal influences, clearly, but also a positive hardcore aesthetic, a little d-beat, and some cheeky, post-hardcore guitar slinging that really fuels the interest level of the listener.
It's hard not to feel the urge to move when you listen through this album, which has a surprising level of depth for its mesh of typically superficial styles. "Give Up All Hope" might open with a fairly typical groove metal punch, but the bridge has great streams of bloodied melody and the riff at around 2:20 is just too excellent and bouncy to ignore. "Distress and Decay" drives a meaty rhythmic line across a series of jangling guitar fills, with vocals that are as much Sick of It All as they are The Defaced (another groove/thrash metal band that gets it right). "In Hell" commences with a fairly straightforward thrash and groove segment, somewhere between Exhorder and The Haunted, and "We Conform to the Unrighteous" is a sludgy, fistfucking anthem which thrashes about the muddy depths of the band's rebel spirit. Speaking of which, they seem to have a slightly cynical social/political spin to the lyrics which conforms to the anger of the music and vocals. "The Kill" is one of the more death-oriented tracks, rooted in some thick Entombed chugging, while the title track is pure, pissed off metallic hardcore with a Slayer-like vocal bridge.
Danish bands have a tendency towards huge productions, especially the more modern metal acts like a Mnemic or Raunchy, and though The Kandidate doesn't sound stylistically like those other bands, the mix for this debut is just as close to the crushing edge. The guitars all feel like hammers dropping on your junk, and at times its hard to believe you are listening to a three piece band (they should probably add at least one more guitarist to their live formation to mimic the massive guitar tones). The Kandidate features former members of Withering Surface and the former vocalist 'Dr. J' of Hatesphere, so it's not a surprise that they've got this much polish. What more can I say? I wouldn't say I love the album, as I don't find many of the individual riffs that appealing, but it operates with such a confident, full tone and pissed off hardcore energy that it was not easy to remain seated to write this up, and to me that translates into an album energetic enough to appeal to young, healthy fans of modern thrash and metalcore.
Highlights: Give Up All Hope, Distress and Decay, Yours Truly