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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