Outre-Tombe - Official Website - News


N​é​crovortex

Canada Country of Origin: Canada

1. La Crypte
2. Désintégration
3. Aberration
4. Écorché Vif
5. Concile Cadavérique
6. Hécatombe II
7. N​é​crovortex
8. L'Enfer Des Tranchées
9. Vengeance Spectrale
10. Rongé Par Les Miasmes


Review by Rosh on December 8, 2023.

Heavily infatuated with modern old school death metal as I was in late 2018, it's a funny story how Nécrovortex didn't become a staple release for me until late 2021, after its follow-up album was unleashed. Outre-Tombe dropped both full-lengths in October of those respective years, and in the former case, I was actually really keen on delving more into it after my initial Bandcamp screening, planning on buying the download and eventually the CD and what have you. To be perfectly honest, though, I just straight up forgot the band's French moniker, which looking back, was odd, because the name "Outre-Tombe" is sick; it means "Beyond the Grave" apparently. Anyway, to make matters worse, not only had I let the morbid French phrase slip my mind, I got them confused at different moments with OUTER Heaven, fellow Canadians TOMB Mold (both of whom, to be fair, had dropped noteworthy full-lengths that same year), and then most unforgivably, Germamy's Carnal TOMB the following summer when Abhorrent Veneration dropped. Fuck my life, I can remember the names and albums of all the random "I-(shouldn't even men)-tion" death metal bands but not a group with one of the sickest, most authentic album covers old or new? Yeah, it was really frustrating because Nécrovortex's wicked cover art was burned into my brain well enough to distinguish it the moment I saw it, but not well enough to give a dead-on description... "Hey dude, can you help me find this one old school death metal album with a cover painting that shows, like, a gorey ritual happening in, like, a dark and scary landscape? Uh, the art style was kinda similar to Entombed's Left Hand Path if that helps any..." Christ in fucking hell, worst three years of my goddamn life!

Well, one of MA's best newer reviewers who I caught wind of because he went absolutely bonkers with "albums (he) like(s) a lot" (KEEP your pretentious 100% review titles and just say it like it really is!) came to the rescue with his coverage of Abysse mortifère a little over a month after its release. I tapped on it from the recent reviews feed because I was following the guy's stuff. Now, I didn't really recall the band name by itself right away, but then, voila! Recognized the logo and consistent art style on the new album immediately, and after reading about their latest, I headed back to Nécrovortex's page right away. There that artwork was! It was sorta like one of those "twins separated at birth" movies, or, err... no, actually, not really. Not really very much like that at all, now that I think about what it would actually be like for someone who hasn't seen a long-lost sibling for their entire life...

I can name this album's sonic brethren, however, and they are in fact separated by decades from its 2018 release. Talking about Outre-Tombe's sound here is interesting because it's a fresher game of "spot the influence" than most of the quasi-Swedish sounding OSDM bands. In this case, it definitely does sound like a band informed by a retrospective cross-section of the entire early 90's, but wielding each defining characteristic tastefully enough to make a coherent and recognizable sounding album. Never does Nécrovortex come off as a defective blender overflowing with the wrong proportions of Entombed relative to Grave relative to Autopsy or Bolt Thrower, yet each of those (usually mid-tempo, mind you) pioneers' groundwork is evident in different departments of what these French-Canadian horror enthusiasts write and play. The riffing patterns here are something I found particularly interesting, as although for the most part they do provide a similar chainsaw-attack as what Dismember is so renowned for, the guitarists here sometimes deviate from the typical darkly melodious Swedish scales and play some notoriously dissonant, jarring patterns; pretty unusual given the high-gain, trebly guitar tone informed by (but not identical to) Sunlight Studios' alumni. Elaborate and augmented guitar onslaughts like these are more commonly associated with Finnish or New York death metal, but in a less technically over-the-top setting, it puts a memorable spin on the already winning, Dismember-like riffing formula.

The benefit of further darkening the chainsaw riff-style especially holds true if we're considering the Autopsy or Bolt Thrower influence prevalent here, like the slow buildup heard in the intro of "Hécatombe II" or the majority of the opening track, "La Crypte", which unfolds suspensefully. These doomy moments infecting most of the tracklist become astoundingly effective when the faster sequences of the guitar work are made up of two more spears on the same trident of death - eerie, foreboding melody and outright dissonance (they are correlated but ultimately different things, in extreme metal anyway). It allows Outre-Tombe to let loose their most intense moments and their catchiest, most headbang-able grooves at exactly the right times, throwing bolts of malicious energy our way. We hear this on the sub 3-minute rager "Désintégration", bursting out of its crypt with squealing lead guitars before settling on a shambling pace still delivered with violent force. The last 3 tracks, meanwhile, are exactly what I want out of deep cuts in death metal, written with attention to detail, yet formulaic in the best way possible.

Dynamics like these make good foreground for discussing the vocals, which at first I wanted to say were just an above average L-G Petrov/Matti Kärki-style mid-range bark, and this was mainly due to the instrumentation itself which, as mentioned, does lean more towards those vocalist's scenes in the subgenre. However, closer listening to the vocalist's technique itself, under even the echo-y reverb he's soaked in, reveals Karl Willets as the primary influence (similar, actually, to what Ontario up-and-comers Expunged would do on their 2021 debut album), and I think this line of tutelage is also why his delivery carries as much emotional weight as it does - Bolt Thrower's lyrics may have been well-written themselves, but they always seemed more captivating yet, on the record, for a reason. Furthermore, all of this means that if the guitarists retained the melancholic progressions in their riffing but broke it all up with more straightforward palm-muted chugging that lurches forth like tank-treads (rather than the focus on open tremolo eviscerations and power-chord bludgeonings), and the drummer followed suit, this would be some of the world's finest 'Thrower worship ever conceived. The title track of Nécrovortex gives off that sense in its first half which sounds sublimely menacing, but Outre-Tombe soon return to their signature death metal M.O.'s.

That's because this isn't worship of any one band, not too much anyway. Rather just 36 minutes of catchier-than-average, genuinely old-school sounding madness! The production is actually fairly raw as a result of what sounds like "everything being recorded too loudly", or at least pushing everything up to the front in the mix, so it creates that kind of rough sound associated with tape distortion, which by itself takes finesse to pull off now. Going back to my opening spiel, I gotta say that I actually do find this band to be a pretty solid companion outift to Carnal Tomb, seeing as they both thrive on this idea to root their sound in Swedish motifs but not absolutely revel in it. The result is outstanding and novel riffs, refreshingly putrid vocals, and all around a tribute to the 90's death metal pioneers that is still worth listening to in and of itself.

Rating: 9.4 out of 10

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