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Tainted Nation - 'On The Outside' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/62/17/20/tainted-nation-on-the-outside-13-1478898306.jpg Hot

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Their debut album was good, but 'On The Outside' is an incredibly gigantic leap forward.

With a collective CV that includes Helloween, Firewind, The Poodles, King Diamond, Eden's Curse, Lionsheart and Grim Reaper to name but seven, it would have been difficult to not pay any attention to Tainted Nation when they debuted with the 'F.E.A.R.' album in 2103. Yet a mere project album this was not, as TN enhanced their reputation with numerous tours and festival appearances. Inevitably a second album would follow.

So 'On The Outside' picks up where 'F.E.A.R.' left off, but it's apparent that, possibly buoyed by the success of the debut, TN are operating as a supremely bolder unit – not that musicians of this calibre should need any reassurance. In particular, Pete Newdeck has adapted from drummer to singer with aplomb and is singing with far more confidence, but overall the songs on '...Outside' benefit from a much stronger and cocksure swagger, with bigger melodies and more dynamic arrangements. This is most noticeable on the excellent 'Defiance', with its subtle piano interludes, and the mesmerisingly dark and eerie power ballad 'Back To Earth' that closes the album.

The addition of a second guitarist in Joel Peters to augment Ian Nash has helped beef up the sound significantly, adding extra potency to the rabble-rousing, fist-pumping, chant-along anthems like opener 'Live And Die', 'Ordinary Life', the punchy (sorry) 'Fight', the rampaging 'Karma' (contender for best track), the grinding 'Going To Hell' and their heavy-as-hell take on Billy Squier's 'The Stroke'.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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A couple of guest vocalists create some extra added interest; Issa duets with Newdeck on the anthemic 'Pulling Me Under', while Vega's Nick Workman adds backing vocals to the title-track – a mid-tempo yet still heavy number with a memorable chorus.

Much like the awesome new album from Sheffield's C.O.P. UK ('No Place For Heaven', reviewed in the last issue), Tainted Nation have demonstrated that a British-based band can cleverly take a contemporary approach to Heavy Metal and imbue it with the stunning melodies normally associated with their Nordic counterparts to amazing effect.

Their debut album was good, but 'On The Outside' is an incredibly gigantic leap forward.

Ant Heeks

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