Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas, No Outlet is a five-piece hardcore band that borders between a rock and a hard place. No Outlet uses punishing percussion from Trey Pemberton, ripping bass from Sean Waters, grinding guitars from Eric Mejia and Austin Johanningmeier, and vocals from Wesley Dameron that could shatter the Earth. When wrapped in a single package; they are a recipe for destruction, leaving only a trail of rubble behind them.
While only a three-track record, Victim of the Void still reigns in a power struggle between complete annihilation and impending doom while focusing on the key components to making a hardcore record become everlasting. Outstanding breakdowns, filthy instrumentation, bleak vocals, and an overarching sense of foreshadowing ruin; No Outlet while no longer in commission, still stand as a monolith in Texas Hardcore.
Kicking things off with “Annexation,” a quick hi-hat count-in sets the mood of the track before a percussive beat-down on the toms and guitar mixes to creates motion and room within the mosh-pits. This then leads into the real meat of the track, where vocalist Dameron will make the debut and deliver some more than impressive lyrics when paired with the utterly destructive sound that No Outlet creates. “Almost lifeless, expressionless. Bloodshot eyes, internal cries, yet something is ticking away. With a trembling limb, the outlook is grim.”
There are multiple instances where No Outlet makes their presence known in such a way that it is near impossible to miss when heard, No Outlet produces such a raw sound along with their music and when the rapid-fire cymbal hits come in from Pemberton, or when Waters lays down a slick, efficient bass groove, it makes for a moment of pure bliss. The breakdowns are where No Outlet begins to truly shine, creating an abusive, but carefully constructed sound. This is also the case when segueing between tracks; there is little to no downtime between blow after blow, making Victim of the Void become a quick winded, three-round fight.
Following is the self titled track, “Victim of the Void” which opens up as violently as before. The guitars make for a hurried, and rugged start which then leads the drums to come in with blazing hi-hat strikes to align the crushing sound that No Outlet produces. The lyrical style of Dameron continues on the bleak path as he angrily shouts, “Merciless sinner or self-proclaimed saint, born into sorrow and waste. Retrace the path, use the evidence as history repeats itself. The thoughts of man grow dull and the body loses control.”
No Outlet then jumps into a bass and percussion lead section where Waters and Pemberton do a fantastic job together creating a simple, but robust system where the energy feeds off of each other’s instrument. This is the opening of the floodgates which leads into “Victim of the Void’s” ending breakdown where the entire band slams on the brakes and completely destroys everything in their path. A significant way to push No Outlet’s sound out and use every last bit of energy to bring the pain up to a newfound level.
Finally, there is the track “Struck Down.” A thrashing and highly efficient attack on the listener. No Outlet uses a similar count-in style from “Annexation,” only this time there is no breaths taken before launching straight into the hellfire. The guitars are a constant, overpowering monster that battles between the spotlight from the percussion, bass, and vocals. All moving parts of No Outlet create a quintuplet machine that moves as one entity. “Struck Down,” becomes the hardest hitting and most timeless of all the tracks featured on Victim of the Void; between the dynamite of a breakdown featured, to the steady blast of thousand-pound riffs from the guitars. This track is a constant smash that breaks the record into a million pieces.
No Outlet proves that Texas really does do everything bigger, better, stronger, and faster. There is no doubt that Victim of the Void is a crushing, but outstanding delivery from the now disbanded group of rule burners.