TWELVE FOOT NINJA – Outlier (Album Review)

I just attended the High Elevation Fest in Denver, CO and Twelve Foot Ninja was one of the bands that were part of my research assignment prior to the show. I always check out the lower tier acts in the hopes of discovering some great new bands and if they are worthy of my valuable time.

Album Review: Twelve Foot Ninja - Outlier
Album Review: Twelve Foot Ninja – Outlier

Twelve Foot Ninja is a spectacularly silly name for a band. Was the group a two person band like White Stripes or Local H with two 6 foot dudes? Or a typical four piece made up of 3-foot midget martial art experts? Or 5 guys and I couldn’t figure out the math? I’m not good with decimals.

Turns out they are a bunch of jokers from Australia with a solid sense of humor per their videos. The video for “Coming For You” has been viewed almost 2 million times. Impressive.

Sidebar advice to all bands: The world doesn’t need another video with you lip syncing in a dimly lit warehouse or walking through a forest with a serious look. I understand that budgets are tight but do something funny and/or try to at least be original as those are the videos that are shared. If not, don’t do a video and buy new tires for your tour bus.

A couple months ago I searched via Spotify and listened to their debut album Silent Machine. I didn’t like it. It was a mashup of different styles and some decent riffs but nothing really stuck for me. The best way I can describe it is a mix of System of a Down, Faith No More or Mike Patton’s other band Mr. Bungle but without any major hooks or melody. With that said, I looked again on Spotify right before the High Elevation Fest this month and saw they had a new album out titled Outlier funded by a Pledge Music campaign.

Album Review: Twelve Foot Ninja - Outlier
Album Review: Twelve Foot Ninja – Outlier | Not Drawn To Scale

Holy balls. This album is a massive improvement. They must’ve read my mind as this is overflowing with hooks and melody. They took the vibe of their debut and refined it. Four years is an eternity between albums for a new act but the time spent with improving their songwriting is evident. But don’t take it from me. This was part of the plan per my in-depth research (Wikipedia). Here’s a quote from vocalist Kin: “It has its roots in the ‘Silent Machine’ album but we’re kind of experimenting with a few different things. There’s more emphasis on songs and the actual songwriting as opposed to just riffs”.

I’m going to list a few tracks as your introduction to the band but I recommend buying the full album. “Oxygen” is the most accessible track and builds from laid back beautiful melodies into some crushing guitars. “Invisible” begins with a bit of generic down-tuned guitars but shockingly flips into a completely different vibe and one of my favorites and one of many examples of how much the songs change in just 3-4 minutes.

The album has more riffs, music styles and time changes than most bands have in their career. But could they pull this off live at High Elevation or was it just studio cut and paste trickery? They pulled it off well and exceeded my expectations. I’m now a fan.

Hail Australia!

Gateway Drugs:

“Point of View”
“Post Mortem”
“Invincible”
“Oxygen”

Twelve Foot Ninja Website

Want more rock?  Check out Cobras & Fire: Rock Podcast starring Loose Cannon (the amazing writer of this article) and Bakko.

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