Comprising talents from Steve Beale (vocals/guitar), Aaron Kennedy (bass/vocals), Luke Butler (drums) and Alan Murphy (guitar/vocals), their love of old-style grunge and Seattle sounds echo through this album from start to finish.
The sheer volume of chord progression and sound changes that are scattered throughout this entire record displays an insurmountable talent from Outsound. It carries the pace of a fusion of funk and hard rock unashamedly and has a delightfully nostalgic feel to it.
The breakdown at the start of ‘Venereal Charm’ brings you back to Silverchair’s ‘Frogstomp’, but the shreddery in the middle of this tune would fit any metal song. ‘Nova’ has a real Temple of the Dog vibe – these guys have clearly been paying attention to the greats of the grunge era like Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, Layne Staley, Daniel Johns, et al., and are paying them a fitting tribute. Once again, it is awash with guitar talent from Beale and Murphy.
It’s not all hastening to yesteryear though; ‘Crème Brûlée’ is heavy and smooth (like the dessert?), and vocal harmonies between Beale, Murphy and Kennedy add a commendable viscosity to the tune’s flow; in particular, the mid-outro breakdown where it sounds like all three are in perfect pitch with each other. But just before that song ends, you get smashed over the head with a FURIOUS heavy metal down-tuned blast that glides out into a full stop. (I listened to that a few times).
Props must be given to Kennedy’s slap-bass methodology; it fits perfectly in with crunchy drum lines from Butler and carries a dirty, head-moving intensity that engages the listener autonomously, which simply pours out from ‘Adeline’.
The riffology that is originating from these songs is a stark reminder that the underground rock scene in Ireland has so much to offer, and is a stern contrast from the ‘skiddley-diddley-idle’ that is sometimes thought of when the international community thinks of Irish music. If anyone you meet says that this should be the norm, MAKE them listen to this album; common sense should take care of the rest.
Things slow down to a sombre tone with ‘Freakshow’, but pick up again with the title track ‘Megatherium’. The fearsome foursome go for broke between slapping, guitar harmonies, vocal melodies, and riffs that sound so simple that you wonder how it sounds so good, but the band have done their homework on this session, and there’s nothing simple about it.
The intricacy and raw energy is dripping out of every syllable uttered, every string plucked and every percussive strike, from the push of the ‘Play’ button until the last note heard.
This is 40 minutes of intense and applaudable mastery. Outsound have put the head down and gotten the wheels moving on an incredible-sounding album, and it is truly hoped that they get picked up soon by a label, because the world needs to hear this. Cork has a true diamond in the rough, and I can’t wait to see them live on stage again. 4.5/5
Track of choice: Venereal Charm
Listen to the full album below…