Outrun the Sunlight

The Return of Inertia

01. Being : Begin
02. The Peter Pan Complex
03. Ambivalence
04. Psychic Cycles
05. Apeirophobia
06. Archetype
07. Quark
08. Telencephalon
09. Diencephalon
10. Phyllotaxis Complete
11. Toska

[Self Released]

Admittedly, djent — like every other genre out there at one point — is starting to get derivative and generic. So many bands out there jumping into a sound they love isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself; people love making the music they want to hear. It makes sense that at this point in a genre notorious for being easily DIY, people following the first break-out of djent have gotten around to releasing their own records. It took metalcore a little longer to reach this point, but that’s technology for you.

Despite the genre’s steady stagnation, there are bands that stand apart as being worthwhile and I’m not about to dismiss a genre just because of a flooded market. There are the signed bands that pave the way like Periphery, Tesseract, Uneven Structure, and Vildhjarta, but lurking around just below the surface are some bands that practice the sound and do it justice, adding a signature flair and developing their own sound that does more than rely on palm-muted chugs and glorified breakdowns. Outrun the Sunlight, a guitar duo based out of Chicago, are a smaller band that manages to do it right.

The djent staples are all here; home produced guitar-centric instrumentals with programmed drums and a rhythm section that practices syncopation and polyrhythms. However, Outrun the Sunlight builds on the sound through various influences like Animals and Leaders and The Contortionist‘s lighter, more melodic exploratory side without being mere copycats. The instrumentation and songwriting on The Return of Inertia runs the gamut from your djenty riffs to post-rock and jazz fusion, allowing enough variance and diversity across the songs to remain interesting.

For example, ‘Ambivalence‘ toys with a latin percussion section that really accentuates the direction that Outrun the Sunlight are wanting to take with their approach at progressive metal; the melodies are organic and lively instead of mechanical and aggressive. ‘Archetype’ also impresses quite a bit with its clean jazzy guitar tone and fairly technical playing.

The duo excels at use of ambiance, synth, melody, and cleaner guitar tones. Whenever there’s use of reverb, delay, and a minimalistic atmosphere, they thrive quite well. However, the band’s heavier moments do need work. There is indeed a disparity between how amazing tracks like ‘Quark’ and ‘Toska’ are compared to the more aggressive ‘Phyllotaxis Complete,’ which stutters the album’s flow with a more Meshuggah-esque tune. The Return of Inertia‘s biggest pitfall seems to be something that the band couldn’t really help all that much; A more raw and organic production to match the record’s tone could have been quite beneficial. The drums are quite digital sounding, and the mixing on the band’s heavier moments is a tad spotty.

It’s not like any of this ruins the experience, though. Criticisms aside, Outrun the Sunlight managed to plant their feet firmly on solid ground with The Return of Inertia. Watching them grow and develop as songwriters will no doubt be interesting. The duo are on to something here, and I’d love to see them explore it further.

Outrun the Sunlight – The Return of Inertia gets…


– JR

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