Portal are one of the most important Death Metal bands in the world.
In a genre as conservative as Heavy Metal it is no surprise that lists of influential bands generally don’t go beyond a pre-approved set of “classics”, but Portal have earned their place among the Deaths and Morbid Angels. Over four albums and nearly fifteen years, they took Death Metal apart and reassembled the pieces into nightmarish, abstract shapes that for the first time managed to sound how the artwork looked. Like most innovators, it took time for their impact to sink in, but over the last few years they have – quite against their will, it seems – triggered a mini-trend of impersonators and left Death Metal in quite a different place than it was in 2013 when Vexovoid (Profound Lore), was released.Continue reading →
The recording of a debut album is a pressurizing and difficult task under any circumstance; the first chance to make a mark on the world and put your presence on the radar. In the case of Polish Black metallers Outre the whole process became all the more complex with the sudden departure of vocalist Andrezej Nowak right at the beginning of recording, resulting in session vocalist Stawrogin being hastily brought in. Surely a testament of this band’s fortitude as they have come out of it with an exceptionally impressive debut in the form of Ghost Chants ( Third Eye Temple).
Despite expectations to follow in the footsteps of homegrown peers such as Behemoth, Outre have chosen to distance themselves from the more melodic and accessible takes on Black metal and have gone down the rabbit hole of the more progressive and challenging strains of the likes of Aevangelist and Deathspell Omega.
Split into seven “Chant” track parts, things proceed in an ominous and gradually building fashion on ‘Departure’, using an atmospheric slow build and eerie chanting vocals to build tension, before the following ‘Shadow’ explodes into view. Rather than sticking to all out pace, Ghost Chants veers between full throttle speed to an unsettling crawl, accompanied by an equally diverse and suited vocal range which shows Stawrogin, as a perfect and hopefully continued acquisition.
In the experimental and innovation stakes it may not have quite the same aurora of evolution and mystique as some of its peers, such as the aforementioned Deathspell Omega, but Ghost Chants is a debut which shows a commendable level of chemistry and fluidity, that of a much more experienced unit. It may not be a game changer in the genre but with their debut, Outre should firmly make a mark on the radar, one that only shows signs of growing more over time.
One of the most formidable debut’s you will hear all year.