Release Date: 7 August 2015
Review by Matt Doria
As if 2015 wasn’t already torrential with quality hardcore releases, Sydneysiders Caulfield are throwing their anchor in the kiddy pool with Outcast, the much-awaited successor to 2013’s substantial, but slightly mediocre Vanity. Bringing to the table an evolved level songwriting skill and some of the most superlative production the post-hardcore genre has seen so far this year, Caulfield might have finally struck gold on their sophomore full-length outing.
Sonically, Outcast is very much rooted in metalcore commonality. Warm drums and brawny riffs dance around in broad equilibrium with equally stirring clean and unclean vocals. Screams are grimy and have a solid amount of pull to them, while cleans are soft and dense and reminiscent of late night road trips through stormy weather. Weaved together their sound is undoubtedly heavy, but Caulfield have somehow managed to construe a hardcore album that sounds… Comforting. Pasted across the crushing riffs and fiery roars that bounce around the foreground, there’s a doughy feeling that resonates in the sizzling drum rolls and old school punk vibes littered throughout Outcast.
Clocking in just under forty minutes long and unconditionally void of filler, Outcast is more than hefty enough to justify its asking price. Though the record may run just a hint overlong as a continuous body of work, it’s easy to pick up and go from any point as all twelve tracks stand affably on their own two feet. At the sum of its parts, there’s enough deviation between the set to make for a consistently refreshing listen, but not so much that the record stands out amongst the pack. This isn’t to say that Outcast is a forgettable journey; familiarity is rife across the board, but once you’ve lent the album your ears, you’ll know whenever a cut from the LP pops up, “this is Caulfield.”
Above all else, it’s chorally that Outcast is at its most impactful. Underlined by the spine-tingling December, verses are doused in personality and choruses in passion, the record as a whole generally clear of the overwrung anti-everything malarkey that’s become all too common in the ‘core scene. In tandem with their impassioned lyricisms, it’s to exemplify everything that makes Caulfield who they are that Calloused Hands is an uncompromising rollercoaster of sonic explosivity, while Death Wish prevails veraciously in using its lead melody to purvey emotion. A special mention also goes out to Blacklist, which samples the infamous speech during which Pennsylvania State Senator and Treasurer Robert ‘Budd’ Dwyer famously killed himself.
Ultimately, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Caulfield don’t exactly reinvent the wheel with Outcast. That being said, it would be a blatant lie to insist the five-piece powerhouse haven’t done a damn good job piecing together this sprain-inducing jewel.