If you were to ask me just what it is that I like about TWELVE FOOT NINJA I really couldn’t put it down to simply one thing. Sure, they’re heavy at times, experimental at others, and they even cross into the dreaded Nu-Metal waters once in awhile (something I usually hate with a fiery passion), but when everything comes together it more often than not is very pleasing to the ear. Add to this the fact that I was very impressed with them live in Dallas back in late 2014, so they’ve officially been on my radar since then. And now here we are with their sophomore album Outlier, out now on Volkanik, and it’s all over the place, which is by no means a bad thing.
The record opens with “One Hand Killing” which dares you to try and genre-define it. You can’t, trust me. But fuck, does it sound great in my headphones. After some heavy riffage and a breakdown or two, along comes some funk guitar that will definitely turn some heads. The funky groove continues with next tune “Sick” on the verses, but on the hook it most definitely drops the hammer. “Invincible” is interesting because we go from downtuned nu-metal guitar sounds with breakdowns to I-don’t-know-what-the-Hell-you-call-it passages that, while leaving you scratching your head, fit together well. It’s a cool song, no doubt about it.
One of my favorites from jump was “Oxygen”. I first heard it on a scissor lift at work and I had to resist the urge to bust out some moves because, well, I was on a scissor lift! “Monsoon” features some crooning from singer Kin, a bit of tribal drumming, and a toe-tappin’ feel throughout. “Adios” is a bit ominous, and there are some freaky sounds going on in the background; there’s a feeling of finality. Another one that really spoke to me was “Point of You”. It borders on smooth jazz at times, and the band shows its tightness on this one. The blend of heavy and funky rears its head again on “Post Mortem”, and even features some flamenco guitar.
“Collateral” is a change of pace that shows up at just the right time. Closing the disc is “Dig For Bones”, another favorite. Something about this track just had me hitting REPEAT when it was over. I couldn’t decide whether to headbang or salsa dance to it, which is why I love it so. I really think TWELVE FOOT NINJA did a bang-up job on Outlier, and if they keep putting out records like this, the sky’s the limit for this band. And I am very excited to see them live for the second time at Rock Allegiance here in PA in a couple of weeks. Pick this album up, see what turns you on. And if you dig it, let us know in the comments section. I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Dig For Bones”, “Oxygen”, ‘Point of You”, “One Hand Killing”