Happiness may be fleeting, but so is heartache, and no one knows it better than San Diego rockers, Outlands. James DeBerg (vocals), Jordan Garza (vocals), Kristopher Renfro (guitar), Alex Ortega (guitar), Zack Harrison (bass), and Garrett Halvax (drums) are determined to bring a very special brand of metalcore to audiences across the United States on their second tour.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Billed as ‘positive metalcore’, Outlands believes that life is not so much about the hard times, but more about how you bounce back. DeBerg explained, “That’s what the music is mainly focused on. It’s not about just forever be happy, because that’s impossible. Nobody is happy forever. That’s not how life is. It’s not scripted that way.” Even though pop culture makes it seem like happiness is the end game, there will always be ups and downs in real life. Bad things may happen and each person must be able to recover and move forward.
Everyone needs a break. From their album, Grave Mind, set to be released this month, the song “Regenerate” says, “Breaking and burning reality bends/Becoming what I hate is all I fear in the end/Broken bled/Circuits and wires” with a distinct industrial tone. Too often hard times can turn to bitterness, but it does not have to be permanent. The lyrics go on to say, “We’ll start over again, no it’s not too late/Turn back time until we can regenerate/We’ll start over again/Regenerate.” No matter what challenges life brings, it is possible to overcome the sadness or anger if you give yourself time to recover.
Music creates a mood. Whether writing or listening, the music of Outlands starts and ends with a connection. Although listeners may find their own meaning in Outlands lyrics, both artist and fan experience the same feelings through the music. When writer’s block rears its ugly head, DeBerg and Garza find it best to exit the situation. Leaving it alone for a time often leads to the rest of the song. Garza says, “You can’t be just like–I’m going to go write a song now. You’ve got to really feel it, feel the emotion behind it.” Outlands is most creative when their minds are clear, allowing them to focus on what they want to say. Inspiration comes from the people they meet on this tour. On a Tuesday night in Detroit, they played to an audience that jumped and moshed, enjoying every song they played. Energy from the crowd inspired them and drives the musicians to give their all on stage each night.
Don’t stop now. The live performance of Outlands is hard-hitting, but precise. The energy level starts at a ten and climbs upward with each song. As they took the stage, people ran to the front, filling the room by the end of the first song. Outlands is as fun to watch as they are to listen to, their constant motion driving the audience response. The contrasting vocals are compelling with Garza’s soulful tones and DeBerg’s emotional delivery. Intriguing tempo changes and innovative pauses throughout the music give each song a different sound, distinctly Outlands, but engaging in the diversity. Signed to Tragic Hero Records, Outlands will be touring in support of Grave Mind as they continue to thrill audiences with a stage show designed to be unforgettable.