"Out Loud" by Slovenia's NAIO SSAION seems to be Napalm Records' attempt to make a big splash in the modern rock/pop world. If you're looking for a review of an album representative of the label's more gothic-folk-metal catalogue, look elsewhere (the band's violin-driven folk slivers notwithstanding).
Led by the golden pipes of a talented woman known as only as Barbara, NAIO SSAION juxtaposes Rok's impressive violin playing with the band's mix of danceable pop melodies and often riff-driven grooves, whilst tossing in the occasional (and poorly done) rap and electronica sections. Songs like "The Mirror" boast chorus patterns that remind me of something ALANIS MORISSETTE or MEREDITH BROOKS might do (hey, gimme a break, it's all I could come up with, as I don't review this kind of thing very often). "N.SS" exemplifies a formulaic approach that involves light poppiness on the verse that builds to a heavier swagger on the chorus. Most of the tunes match muscular rhythms with radio-friendly melodies, the contrast of tough riff and driving rhythm with the featherweight, violin-soaked sections of "Blind Date" a good example. The electric and folk-ish "Blah-Blah" sports a nice groove and hook until a goofy Gwen Stefani rappy sequence hits. The rap cadences of "Shut Up" are just as bad. I found one of the most enjoyable tunes to be the only one without vocals, a two-minute-plus instrumental jam with fiery violin playing called "Bow Link in E Minor".
In the final analysis, "Out Loud" would seem to be an album that could have mass commercial appeal and offer something a bit different (violin) to help NAIO SSAION stand out from the crowd. Aside from a couple stinkers and a few mediocre tracks, the band does have something to offer the non-metal minded among us. Some of it might be considered pop drivel, but much of it is at lest decent pop drivel. Add a point to the rating if you believe that "Out Loud" is actually a phenomenal, cutting edge pop rock album and I just don't realize it.