With the release of Imposter Syndrome, metalcore maniacs Outline In Color are taking the necessary leap in a bigger direction. No more standardized breakdown into catchy chorus formulas. Instead, the newly rejuvenated Oklahoma-based quartet are unveiling a new (old?) lineup formatted with long-time founding member Michael Skaggs taking reins of the mic for the first time and Jonathan Grimes returning to the fold to co-front the band.
With this new and effective set-up, the sound takes on a wider scope and more dynamic palette of both commercial and rockin’ sounds. “Breaking The Silence” contains a hook that is just begging for Octane airplay while “Alibi” is coated with a contemporary R&B sheen that actually suits Skaggs’ voice very well. The overlying theme of Imposter Syndrome is all about pushing away that voice in your head that tells you that you’re lesser. Armed with great vocal interplay and believable emotion, it’s a well-delivered message.
For any wary fans in panic that the band have only chased modern and popular sounds, there is the likes of “Practice What You Preach,” a balls to the wall freight train of metalcore the likes of which Outline In Color had only hinted was possible from them before. An excellent guest feature in “Punishment” from Kalie Wolfe provides the bridge of the song with that mid-2000’s smash hit radio rock single uplift to really send it into the stratosphere. And that’s the kind of songwriting power play that is at work in all five tracks here.
Be it vocal trade-offs, electronic flourishes, chuggy riffing or an interesting chord change, Imposter Syndrome is exceptionally structured. It explores just enough to feel diverse but by the time the fantastic closing track “Vertigo” fades out, the listener is left feeling that they just sat through a complete and cohesive piece of work.