Outspoken have never quite been able to stay with a stable lineup or on a single record label for very long, which makes the epic, double-album-length Spotlight sound either like a statement of defiance or a valiant last gasp, depending. That's depending on which of these 28 tracks is playing, actually: this is a terribly uneven, though quite often impressive, album. A few songs, most notably the plodding "A Light in the Dark" and the ten-plus-minute "Prisoner," bring on a stoner metal vibe akin to late-era Black Flag or the more mainstream moments of the Butthole Surfers, but it's not a style that fits either the songs or the band particularly well. It's on the short sharp shocks of the old-school hardcore tunes that John Coyle's snarling vocals and Mike Hartsfield's riff-heavy guitars are in their proper element, and these songs are as good as anything the band has done. Still, with nearly 80 minutes of hardcore punk -- a style of music best enjoyed an EP at a time -- this is at least four times too much to be consumed in a sitting. Treat Spotlight as a series of 7" singles gathered onto one disc and it improves dramatically.
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