Tainted Nation – On The Outside
Pride & Joy Music (26-02-2016)
Reviewer – Stephen Brophy
When the band contains respected musicians – Pontus Egberg (King Diamond, The Poodles) on Bass, Joel Peters (Fury, Newman) on Guitar, Ian Nash (Steve Grimmet, Lionsheart) on Guitar, Mark Cross (Firewind, Helloween, Kingdom Come) on Drums and when your frontman, Pete Newdeck (drums – Eden’s Curse, Newman), is also hot property for mixing/producing some of the top Hard Rock names in the business it is not surprising that the follow up to Tainted Nation’s 2013 F.E.A.R. debut album is just as good and then some. Tainted Nation are among a handful of bands with the ability to be hard hitting and oh so melodic at the same time, it’s definitely a gift and one they intend to use to great effect judging by this sophomore effort. Thirteen tracks are served up for On The Outside and again there’s a nice mix of both styles and pace with the band producing something a little different as they go along.
The title track features backing vocals from VEGA’s Nick Workman and again is a belting track, it grinds along initially and builds gradually, there’s a nice control to this one, it’s not all guns blazing, but it doesn’t have to be, the simple but very effective riff gets right in your head, and it manages to keep that solid feel throughout, nothing dragging it off plan and no histrionics, doing exactly as it says on the tin.
The duet with Issa on the track ‘Pulling Me Under‘ is again excellent, and it’s nice to have a band introduce a female artist in a full on Rock track and not just a ballad, which is the norm these days. Their voices work really well together, the riffs are oh so chunky, excellent guitar work throughout from Ian and Joel, throw in one of the finest rhythm sections in Rock with Pontus on Bass and the always in high demand Mark Cross on Drums and you start to believe that this is not only one of the more talented lineups around, but they have so much ability in creating catchy gripping hard rock they can be around for as long as they want to. Pete’s vocals are getting stronger and stronger and as long as they can keep their busy schedules synced we will be in for a treat for years to come. The pair of lead singers trading off against each other here is terrific.
The stand out track is the really excellent ‘About A Boy‘ which is a really rocking tune that contains more than one hook that will grab you by the back of the neck and get you moving. There is almost a punk/pop feel to the opening salvos, reminding me of the better moments of Alkaline Trio, while still keeping the music firmly in the hard rock and aor genres, really difficult not to get moving when this one kicks in. A perfect example of the promise that lies within this band, certainly a track that could be big among a younger crowd than the general AOR audience. The chorus manages to implant itself into your head and you wind up humming or singing it while walking around the house.
Opener ‘Live And Die‘, along with closing track ‘Back To Earth‘ and ‘Karma‘ were all co-written by Hammerfall guitar monster Pontus Norgren and as with everything else on display although very different songs they are all very well constructed, a real rousing rocker, a more anthem lead song in ‘Karma’ but it’s ‘the last track on the album that’s a little bit special again, a classy little intro slowly rumbles through the start of the song where I think Pete gives his best vocal performance to date, transitioning easily from just him and some minimalistic guitar accompaniment to a booming chorus that fits the flow of the track perfectly, again some wonderful lead guitar work on this one, soaring along with the vocals.
Pete Newdeck and the guys have once again put together a really terrific album, hard edged melodic rock is not currently in high supply, so when you get a release of this quality mark it down for purchase and enjoy every minute of it. The added bonus on this one is a really powerful and modern cover of Billy Squier’s hit ‘The Stroke‘. Tainted Nation are growing, evolving and just getting better and better.