VINYL VAULT: Outlier (TWELVE FOOT NINJA)
ALBUM TITLE: Outlier ARTIST: Twelve Foot Ninja VINYL STATUS: New
I cannot tell a lie – I have been hanging out for this one since the album dropped late last year, but due to some manufacturing issues I had to make do with listening to Twelve Foot Ninja’s second studio album ‘Outlier’ *gasp* digitally. But patience paid off, and I woke to this brand spanking new vinyl on my doorstep over the weekend.
You may note/judge that the vinyls up on my site so far are mostly new – and for good reason, because there is nothing quite as exhilarating as hearing something as explosively diverse as ‘Outlier’ blowing the roof off my record player.
For many, Twelve Foot Ninja are genre enigmas, drawing from an epic well of influences (inevitable comparisons include Mr Bungle and Meshuggah) – but perhaps fittingly in their 2012 debut ‘Silent Machine’ and again in the ARIA-nominated ‘Outlier’ they inject an insane combo of prog, metal, djent, reggae and even Latin influences to name a few. This outlandish mix achieves a pretty divergent effect; their sound is instantly unique, while also detaching them from straight-up djent and prog bands (and for the word nerds out there – the latter is nearly the literal definition of an outlier).
The opening track ‘One Hand Killing’ will melt you and your neighbour’s face off with some meticulous djenty riffs and a few jazzy piano trills thrown in for good measure. The album flows through with some balls-out shredding (‘Sick’), flamenco-meets-8-bit flair (‘Dig For Bones’) and some seriously sexy funk throughout. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises on the album for me was the laid-back lounge vibes on ‘Point of View’ – lead singer Kin Etik’s voice drapes over the track like a velour leisure suit, set against some sassy brass and occasional heaving guitars.
The elephant in the room here is that what makes TFN so intriguing is also what may polarise a lot of listeners – it’s not always a smooth and straight-forward ride, and may come off as jarring for those not familiar with the likes of Mike Patton and co. If you like your tunes cohesive and unchallenging, you’d best steer clear.
But ultimately ‘Outlier’ reveals a more experimental side of Twelve Foot Ninja – and it’s a triumphant second helping for the mad scientists of the metal world.
Twelve Foot Ninja are currently on tour, with shows still to go in Queensland, Western Australia, ACT and New South Wales. For more info, check out their website.
LABEL: Volkanik Music GENRE(S): Fusion Metal/Djent RELEASE DATE: August, 2016
BY TIANA SPETER