Dubstep often times goes two ways. It's big and upfront, or its subdued and moody. Noisia went for the upfront route with their new album Outer Edges, but to mixed results. This album has its moments of drum and bass jamming but often times sounds like a mish-mash of sounds clustered together very incoherently.
The pacing of this album is pretty odd to begin with. Opener 'The Approach' is a chill (albeit, somewhat boring) introduction to an album before 'Anomaly' kicks in with a speedy beat. 'Collider' starts with a more ominous sound and introduces a darker sound that carries through stays unique to the one track. "Weird" describes the next few tracks - 'Vigilantes' brings in the rave-dubstep vibes, but features some off-putting vocal samples that don't play well to the overall vibe of the track. The next track 'Tentacles' is weird in a different way - it's really unsettling. The "tentacles, tentacles, tentacles..." vocal build up makes you squirm before the underwhelming drop kicks in.
While the first half of the album will make you feel a variety of ways, the second half has many tracks that are just plain boring, and, at times, stupid. Songs like 'Surfaceless' and 'Exavolt' sound like a cluster of random noises that build up to nothing and have nothing climactic to carry them somewhere. Other tracks including 'Motion Blur' just don't go anywhere and fail to create an interesting experience. The album concludes on an absolutely dead note, the song 'Sinkhole' being one of the worst things I've heard in awhile and 'Get Deaded' just being plain stupid.
To its credit, this album has some solid drops in it. 'Voodoo' starts off sludgy but kicks into something actually worth getting into later on. 'Mantra' has some massive vibes going on with it, the first track on the album that is truly enjoyable and has a big dance demeanor - 'Into Dust' reprises this later on with a fantastic drop accompanying it. 'The Entangled' almost reproduces this but doesn't climax quite as well as it could have. Much of the song is a great build up to something that never comes. 'Stonewalled' is another track with a fat drop but the rest of the track feels like they just threw a bunch of sounds together into one progressive mess.
Dubstep isn't good if it's messy. Throwing in noises and sounds where they shouldn't be can kill the whole vibe of the song. Noisia struggled with that in this record. A lot of things feel unnecessary and often times don't climax as they could for something big. Perhaps its part of their drum and bass nature, but this album felt empty and anticlimactic for the most part. Maybe their next release will be more of a jam.
Favorite Tracks: Mantra, The Entangled
Least Favorite Tracks: Sinkhole, Get Deaded, Straight Hook, Tentacles
Rating: 59 / 100