Though commercially successful, Comeback Kid’s 2014 album ‘Die Knowing’ was largely “another hardcore album”, a barrel of sweat, piss and vinegar designed to be slopped into moshpits and lapped up like chum. The band didn’t sound happy, and for many, the album marked a disappointing return to the inelegant but effective bluster of straight hardcore, ignoring the more considered, melodic hooks of 2010’s superb ‘Symptoms + Cures’. Three years and a couple of personnel changes later, the proud Canadians are back with ‘Outsider’, which bears the hallmarks of both albums, but comes across like the shenanigans of a bunch of mates rediscovering their love for each other rather than simply working together, and while they haven’t reinvented the wheel, they have added spokey dokeys to it. What’s most striking, aside from the renewed sense of camaraderie, is the increased metal influence (perhaps unsurprising considering the move to Nuclear Blast). Comeback Kid have always been thrashier than their contemporaries, but ‘Absolute’ is basically Anthrax with more gang vocals, fewer solos and a full-throated Devin Townsend cameo, while the intro to ‘I’ll Be That’ would fit seamlessly on a Gojira album. There are other hints too, such as the Slayer-esque riff on ‘Outrage’ and the relentless onslaught of ‘Throw That Stone’, but with waves of pop-punk weaved into the fabric to accentuate those moments, ‘Hell Of A Scene’ and ‘Consumed The Vision’ in particular bringing old school Sum 41 and Green Day to mind in their chorus and riff respectively, while the harmonies in ‘Recover’ are pure ADTR. The album also sounds absolutely huge, with songs packed in tighter than Ron Jeremy’s wetsuit, and zero wasted space, meaning it never lags or outstays its welcome. Designed to decimate clubs but with choruses to level arenas, ‘Outsider’ is potentially CK’s best effort yet and destined to put them in spotlights only dreamed of so far.