OUTRE ‘Ghost Chants’ Review

Polish black metal outfit ’Outre’ follow their two 2013 releases, the EP ’Tranquility’, and a limited edition split cassette with Thaw, with a debut full length ‘Ghost Chants’ and it’s a damned good listen. There have been two line up changes since the split release, still with Damian Igielski and Mateusz Jamróz on guitars and Maciej Pelczar covering drum duties but with Marcin L.th Radccki taking over bass duties who definitely ups the game with some pretty inventive bass lines and the absolute stroke of genius, is the recruitment of Strawrogin (Maryj) from ‘Crawling Death’ to cover the vocals , the sheer extent of his vocal range and capabilities brings an extra dimension to this release.

‘Ghost Chants’ is a seven track offering, continuing with lyrical themes that encompass often surreal aspects of the dream state and religion/ occult but in a more lyrically abstract manner than the tracks from the 2013 split, with a strong ‘Deathspell Omega’ influence.

‘Chant 1 – Departure’, opens on a deathly sombre drone, overlaid with haunting intense riffing and the range of vocals in just ten lines of lyrics is impressive, a fairly clean chant alongside some  superbly tortuous and insane gutturals , a great start but after this track the album gets even better.

The mood changes completely for ‘Chant 2 – Shadow’ an opener that is awash with intense drums and riffing, overlaid with harrowing screams, the pace eases slightly with the arrival of spoken cleans which contrast against guttural growls, making a superbly effective combination, all overlaid on intense blasts of drum work, high speed blackened riffing, the latter part of the track having heavily protracted, spoken gutturals which gain a more tortuous edge as the track closes, possibly my favourite track of the album.

‘Chant 3- The Fall’ maintains that intensity if the previous track, opening on sonic squeals and there is a decidedly ‘Behemoth’ influence, in places, on this track, notably in the first half, with some great, simple yet effective bass work in the latter, closing part of the track.

‘Chant 4 – Lament’ is built around a set of superbly effective, discordant and melancholic riffs with straightforward gutturals, at least compared to previous tracks, that are accompanied by sinister spoken elements towards the end of the second half, a wonderfully dark and disturbing track.

The pace drops for ‘Chant 5 – Equilibrium’ shorter a just over two and a half minutes and slower with stunningly effective, haunting harmonies and an equally haunting repeat, particularly at the arrival of the growls , some great, slightly tortuous cleans in the final thirty seconds that waver, deepen and turn into a growl at the very end .

The core of ‘Chant 6 – Vengence’ is intense hypnotic blackened riffing and pummelling drum work, the perfect backdrop for some of the most terrorising blackened vocals it has been my pleasure to hear, along with other intriguingly bizarre vocal sounds and equally bizarre straining vocals at the close, which work superbly.

Final track ‘Chant 7-Arrival’, the albums longest at almost eight minutes, beginning with a long, dark, suspense rich opener that builds gradually, complete with pounding riffs, an array of vocalisations, including spoken cleans and sinister growls, reaching full intensity two minutes in, the tempo switching between the crushingly intense and the slightly slower pummelling and with the closing tortuous fading vocal screams staying with you FOREVER!

‘Ghost Chants’ was mixed and mastered by ‘M’ of ‘MGŁA’ , a stamp of excellence in itself and is a superb debut full length, one that deserves to bring ’Outre’ to the attention of the wider black metal masses, this is certainly am album which would be of interest to fans of ‘Deathspell Omega’, ‘Behemoth’, ‘Dark Fortress’ or ‘MGŁA’. I recommend giving a couple of consecutive spins to really get the feel of the album.

Review By Jools Green

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