Outshine - Prelude to Descent

Prelude to Descent
Dead Tree Music
Outshine are a Swedish rock metal band that has been around since 1995. It is not clear if we can consider “Prelude to Descent” the band’s third or fourth album, because the same songs came out a year ago in an album entitled “Addiction” that was released only in Sweden. The only difference is that “Addiction” featured Erlend Jegstad, the band’s former singer, in lead vocals. Outshine call “Prelude to Descent” their third album, the record company calls it their fourth and the rest of us are just confused.
Anyway, “Prelude to Descent” is a dark melodic-goth/hard-rock record with a touch of post-grunge. In other words, I see this album as a mixture of Paradise Lost, Drowning Pool, and HIM. With a big name like Gӧran Finnberg (In Flames, Opeth, Dark Tranquility and Meshuggah) in charge of the mixing the rule is that a perfect sound is almost guaranteed. “Prelude to Descent” is no exception to that rule; the clear and crisp sound really works as a plus to the band’s compositions. To be more exact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard any of the tracks of “Prelude to Descent” on the radio.
But, as we all know, not everything we hear on the radio is pure gold. While there is nothing wrong with “Prelude to Descent”, to my ears, Outshine sound desperate to have a hit in it. I say that because they seem to have chosen the much traveled clean-cut modern hard rock road and they haven’t taken any chances with their compositions. Therefore, most songs sound pretty damn good, but none of them has that unique, special little “wow” factor that a great song needs. I can’t say, of course, that I didn’t enjoy “Prelude to Descent”.
Well, there is one track that just absolutely loved. For some reason I have listened to “In You I Met Me (Caroline)” so many times in the last few days that I’m this close to knowing all the lyrics by heart. It’s not in any way the hit single of the record (I can imagine that a song like “Addiction” or “Here Now” could climb the radio rock charts a lot easier), but “In You I Met Me (Caroline)” is without a doubt my favorite track here. And for those of you, who know the song, let me just say that I’m not currently in love or have recently broken up with anyone. So it’s not that.
Anyway, to summarize, I found that “Prelude to Descent” is a decent album that flows smoothly from one good track to an equally good one. Therefore, I seriously doubt that there is any rock fan out there who will hate it, but at the same time, I don’t think that it offers anything that we all haven’t heard before.