REVIEW: TWELVE FOOT NINJA – “Outlier”
A handful of EP’s, a well received debut album, hand picked by Disturbed for their opening slot, an awards list that keeps on growing and a world record to top it all off. It would be fair to say that Twelve Foot Ninja have racked up a few honorable mentions in their mere eight year existence. With their upcoming new album ‘Outlier’ being released August 26th, the band are set to unleash ten new tracks on fans old, new and unsuspecting. The Aussie rockers vocalist Kin says the album “has its roots, but we’re kind of experimenting with a few different things” and he is not kidding. In the best way possible, ‘Outlier’ is an eclectic blend of styles both musically and vocally that not only sounds great but is a whole lot of fun, too!
The band leaked and teased the album opener, “One Hand Killing” with a video clip for the same track earlier this year. Here alone fans will find nu metal striking the first moments. With hints of KoRn and Sepultura, the band quickly detour by throwing in a bit of funk (because why the hell not?) and closing the track with what one would imagine to be elevator music had IT the Clown written it.
Some monster riffing from Stevic MacKay and Rohan Hayes is found throughout the album. Particularly in tracks such as “Post Mortem” and “Sick”, their twisted and impressive guitar virtuosity shines through on style transitions and time signature changes as Russ and Damon McKinnon hold down the rhythm section masterfully. As far as the mix of styles is concerned, there are areas where it doesn’t quite gel as well as others. With that being said, the bands take on this way of songwriting is refreshing. Dream Theater elitists may disagree, but Twelve Foot Ninja are taking a good stab at doing something a little different here and are putting their own stamp on it as they go.
Recently, a lyric video for the track “Invincible” was released. A little more main stream and not quite so risqué, “Invincible” feels like an anthem but in truth has more depth than the usual obligatory sing along. A good choice for release also, as it is one of the bands more accessible pieces of music which will ease newer fans into their catalogue a little more smoothly. As far as album highlights go, “Point of You” and the beast that is “Collateral” deserve a mention! As does the up tempo, Transylvanian feel good ballad “Oxygen”. Can’t quite imagine it? Then that is simply another reason to give this record a spin for yourself.
Debut follow ups are always a crucial point in any bands career. Having your whole life to write your first album, more often than not the pressure for a second album can cause the music to suffer. Both time restraints and, of course, the ever growing expectations for “what’s next?” can be all too much. Once the singer and frontman for British punk legends The Buzzcocks, Howard Devoto once described his songs as being “as complete a picture of confusion as I can put together”. Similar can be said for Twelve Foot Ninja’s ‘Outlier’. There are moments when it all comes together and it is a force to be reckoned with. There are also moments when frankly, you have no idea what is going on exactly. However, as a whole, ‘Outlier’ is bold, fun, never dull and an excellent debut follow up.