Much to the perpetual chagrin of the genre’s elitist population, metal has had a lengthy relationship with cross-genre experimentation. From Sepultura’s world music-infused ‘Roots’ to the more recent exploits of UK bands such as Enter Shikari and Skindred, the envelope has been pushed in many different directions throughout the years, and now Australian five-piece Twelve Foot Ninja are looking to push it further. Having first raised heads (and indeed, eyebrows) with their 2012 debut ‘Silent Machine’; a musical cocktail of nu-metal, funk, salsa, bossa nova, they’ve now returned with their sophomore release ‘Outlier’.
Picking up where ‘Silent Machine’ left off, ‘Outlier’ opens with ‘One Hand Killing’ – a track that succinctly sums up the band’s most eminent qualities; brawny riffs that would be at home on most turn-of-the-millennium metal releases are repurposed for today’s audiences with elastic, djent-y guitar tones, and are weaved masterfully with the band’s funk/bossa nova leanings. Such eclecticism could be easily squandered by a lesser vocal talent, but the Patton-esque versatility brought by Kin Etik is the final piece in an already intriguing puzzle.
However, after such an explosive introduction, what is disappointing and somewhat perplexing is that ‘Outlier’ fails to really build upon this initial momentum. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the remaining songs, many of the elements present on ‘One Hand Killing’ are all too frequently revisited, and what was initially fun and refreshing begins to feel more and more trite the closer we get to the finish line. Fortunately, the album is short enough not to completely overstay its welcome, but it’s possible that the record would be a far less tiresome listen if any of its tracks ventured either side of the three- and four-minute zone.
Although it is to be commended that Twelve Foot Ninja draw from such a disparate range of sounds on their second album, the kitchen sink approach on most tracks means that paradoxically little truly stands out.
‘Outlier’ by Twelve Foot Ninja is released on September 16th on Volkanic Music.
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Words by Josh Graham (@JollyBoyJosh_)