23 January 2022

Outre-Tombe – Abysse Mortifère

Release date:  31.10.2021
Label: Temple of Mystery Records
 

Outre-Tombe return with their highly anticipated third album titled Abysse Mortifère. These Quebec death metal upstarts have made waves in the old school death metal community over the past decade with their straight-up, chuggy, death metal soaked in grimy atmosphere. It harkens back to the late 80s and early 90s Swedeath or Bolt Thrower sound. They also tend to throw in d-beat and punk influences, which keep their songs often bouncy and very energetic. Very soon you’d need a neck brace from headbanging too much. This was my first introduction to the band from a couple years ago and their previous efforts, Répurgation and Nécrovortex, have left a lasting impression on me.

The Abysse Mortifère album cover art is stylistically very similar to Nécrovortex, with the exception that they seem to have upped the gruesome quotient on it. It is stunning and perhaps captures what the band’s members hope the album sound is expected to look like visually. Let’s see whether this holds water!

The self-titled track, which is the album opener, kicks off with an eerie horror build-up and very soon the slow guitar riffs gather momentum and transform into heavy alternate picking. It’s very Outre-Tombe-ish alright and the band picks up right where Nécrovortex left off. Cenobytes, the second track, has a strong d-beat influence in its verse and chorus. The band changes it up with some tasty guitar work as a breakdown, followed up with some guitar solos which fit right over the mix. Crachat’s vocals are as Martin van Drunen-esque as ever and they cut right through.

I’m already ten minutes into the album and the album has the band’s signature style written all over it. It satiates my expectations almost completely. I felt the tracks Coupe Gorge and Desossé were a bit like filler tracks but I’m not disappointed because this was only building up to the monstrous Exsangue. It’s a song which perfectly stitches together four main riff ideas. They are groovy, they have cajones and are extremely headbang worthy. It’s easily the best track on the album and very closely rivals L’antre de l’horreur (from Répurgation) as my all time favorite Outre-Tombe track.

I might sound like this is the high point of the album. Exsangue definitely is but the B-side of the album is worth checking. In my opinion it collectively has superior quality compared to the first five tracks. Tombeau de glace has a fist-thumping intro and then meanders off into relentless riffs. Haut et Court has a very strong mid-section which will result in many circle-pits whenever the band gets to play live. Nécrophage felt more like business as usual. The album closer, Haruspex, is probably my second favorite track on this record. It mixes multiple ideas and executes them well. It has all the elements that make Outre-Tombe. From guitar buildup in the start to seamless transitions to tremolo riffing to some groovy bouncy OSDM and then frenzied guitar solos. The song ends just as it began, like the intro. And here we are, at the end of another Outre-Tombe album!

I think the quality of songwriting in Abysse Mortifère has been largely consistent with their previous efforts. The musicianship has been excellent within the realm of the band’s musical boundaries and Crachat continues to belt out his buzzsaw like vocals to match the instrumentation. What peeves me though the most is that the record lacks that punch-in-the-face sound. I love my muddy grimy production in albums, but not at the expense of taking a bit of oomph from the band’s sound. Compared to the previous albums, the production does feel a tad weaker. I’m not sure if many will nitpick on this aspect because overall, I do think Abysse Mortifère is a worthy successor to Nécrovortex.

If you’re looking for tech-death wizardry or something “innovative” (notice the air-quotes) in death metal, then this band is not for you. If you love old school death metal just the way the Swedeath pioneers wanted it to sound, then Outre-Tombe is definitely up your alley. The band does what many fail to achieve – Make simple riffs sound extremely catchy and brutal at the same time. They hit the sweet spot when many tend to overdo it. Abysse Mortifère is out on Temple of Mystery records and if you get an opportunity to catch the band live, drop everything and do it. I hear they put on a mean show. I’ll show myself out and listen to Exsangue for the umpteenth time!

 

Line up:
  • Vitesse – Drums
  • Cobra – Guitars
  • Crachat – Vocals, Bass
  • Désastre – Guitars
  1. Abysse mortifère
  2. Cenobytes
  3. Coupe-gorge
  4. Desossé
  5. Exsangue
  6. Tombeau de glace
  7. Haut et court
  8. Nécrophage
  9. Haruspex

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