Monday, 1 June 2015

Outre - Ghost Chants

OUTRE - Ghost Chants (THIRD EYE TEMPLE - CD 2015)
Outre are rather new band, but the expectations for their debut album were already really damn high here in Poland. They got good feedback and attention after they released their first two recordings (“Tranquillity” EP and split with Thaw). And even though both these releases were pressed in criminally small quantities, they did manage to reach those, who were interested… and the reviews were superb, so this is why there was such a high demand for the debut album! The tension was built slowly; small dose of information, then a sudden change of the vocalist just before entering the studio (Andrzej Nowak was replaced by Stawrogin from Odraza!)… Finally the album was released – and I must say that all labels involved did excellent job! I only have a jewel case version so far, but it already looks brilliant, so I don’t even wanna know how the wooden box CD version is like… and the announcement of the vinyl version is more than promising! Of course no one should judge the book by its cover, but damn it is nice! Besides, after two such killer previous releases, we could only be sure that “Ghost Chants” will not fail and turn out to be a fantastic album. And such, it certainly is.
After the first listening session one thought was striking my mind and it was the feeling that it’s not going to be an easy album. While the previous recordings were pretty easy for me and I liked them immediately, this one surely needs more time. It’s not an album, which you can judge after a day or two. It’s something, what requires careful listens, even if I don’t like to analyze music, as it’s not a fuckin science, but all in all an entertainment. But damn, it’s sort of material, which you need to focus on, as this is the only way for you to capture its essence and actually find a path in the chaos. Obviously, when compared to the previous recordings there’s a clear progression – and here I must be honest: I am not sure if it’s a change for better haha, probably not ha! Why? Well, I guess I just prefer that rawer and more obscure, straight forward, but still quite unique black metal with that “post” adjective, which was nailed to this band for good. Definitely “Ghost Chants” is more experimental and not predictable, especially in the vocals department, but do not worry… the foundation of this record is still deeply rooted in  black metal and the fans of this genre should pay attention in the first place. But you can easily forget about that “post” thing here.
Atmosphere wise there’s as much from let’s say Mayhem as from Deathspell Omega or even damn Ved Buens Ende, so you can only imagine how diverse and unpredictable this album is. There’re moments of sheer aggression and ferocity, with quite many blasting sections and simply a brilliant, straight forward attitude. And this is actually something what many may not expect to hear, because Outre had this post black metal sticker glued to them since their debut and usually PBM bands do not use blasts and do not sound so uncompromising… But here we can hear quite many fierce, vicious and oppressive songs, like my favourite pieces “Chant III – The Fall” and “Chant VI – Vengeance” – this is where I like Outre the most, to be honest. I also need to recommend you checking “Chant IV – Journey”.
But there are also many slower, sometimes almost doomy passages, some melancholic and sorrowful bits, you can even use the “avantgarde” word for the description of some content… and damn, I have a feeling like this album would be much different if it wasn’t for Stawrogin’s vocals, which are a mixture of black metal shrieks, growls, moanings, clean singing, yellings and fuck knows what else. I do must be honest – while his performance on the excellent Odraza album “Esperalem Tkane” was spotless, then here I have sometimes some mixed feelings and I am just not sure if I like his entire performance. Probably a bit of both: awesome / too weird, depends which part we’re talking about. But yeah, his vocals have a strong influence on the music and its aura for sure, providing an extra eerie and sick feeling. And both – musical background and the vocals – create an album, which surely is far from being one dimensional and boring. But I do need to admit that such “Chant I – Departure” and “Chant V – Equilibrium”, so those slower and more weird songs, are not my favourites. On the other hand “Chant VII – Arrival” is absolutely fantastic. Damn, when I listen to these songs, I can imagine why they decided to call the album “Ghost Chants”, so eerie and sinister they sound!
Obviously “Ghost Chants” has some common Polish characteristics, which a lot of these new Polish black metal bands share… I would rather avoid comparisons, but if I had to make one, then for sure if you enjoyed such album like Eerie’s “Into Everlasting Death”, then “Ghost Chants” is also for you, although in my opinion Outre is better. Also, try not to think of this album as a post black metal thing, as it surely is not one. I suppose that the previous recordings were more in this direction, but combined with killer rough and fierce classic black metal. Someone can just call it an avant-garde black metal or whatever, but who cares about descriptions and such… Personally I think it’s a good album (yet another one from this Polish soil!), very interesting and time consuming… but I also think that the previous Outre recordings were better. Anyways, you definitely must put your hands on a copy; there’re many different formats to choose from, so don’t hesitate.
Standout tracks: “Chant III – The Fall”, “Chant VI – Vengeance”, “Chant VII – Arrival”

Final rate: 79/100

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