OUTRE-TOMBE – Abysse Mortifère (2021)REVIEW

On their third full-length album Québécois elite death metal crew Outre-Tombe triple down on their late 80’s traditional death metal sound. What does that even mean? They sound more garage-bound, thumping out Hell with every kick of this bluntest third iteration of their horror-obsessed hybridization of the earliest pure death metal styles out of North America and Scandinavia. I’m sold on this thing in general but existing fans will have to figure on their own terms whether ‘Abysse Mortifère‘ is properly stylized as to sound arcane and mean or if it just plops out like a rehearsal tape with the drum levels clobbered into mush.

You can fuck off over to my review of ‘Nécrovortex‘ (2018) for a generalized, kinda ham-fisted description of Outre-Tombe‘s discography up ’til and including that album. They haven’t changed drastically since ‘Répurgation‘ (2015) and there is no indication that they intend to follow the banal stretches of ‘progress’ or commercialized mutation a lot of similar bands pursue just yet. They play straight up death metal by my own perceived standards and do a fantastic job of it. In terms of primarily Autopsy-spawned pure ‘old school’ death metal still naturally sporting the yellowed skeletal affect of speed metal (“Haut et Court”, “Haruspex”) and d-beaten stench (“Nécrophage”) influence upon death metal in the deepest of late 80’s we can safely say Outre-Tombe are not alone in the style of music they play but they are one of the more memorable acts doing it when our analysis considers visual design, stylized sound design and riffcraft as a package.

‘Nécrovortex’ was a point of broader notice and to some degree an especially defining moment for the band, ‘Abysse Mortifère’ maintains this ideal. Outre-Tombe‘s sort of ‘Clandestine’-era Entombed affect is still front-and-center at face value but this time around their knack for early Bolt Thrower influences are quicker in hand as we fall directly into opener/title track “Abysse Mortifère”. Trench crushed and distantly echoing rendering (mixing/mastering) from V.K. pushes us away from Svensk neo-traditional cultists Repugnant and Maim towards the muddier rip of Pyre then buries the body just short of Napalm Death‘s ‘Harmony Corruption’. Right on the edge of basement-level blur. I figure anyone who has ever geeked out on a record like ‘Epitome of Darkness’ will “get” this record right away and folks who see ‘Left Hand Path’ as a high watermark for all time will agree. I’m generally right there as a fan, enough to know Outre-Tombe typically provide nuance enough that ‘Abysse Mortifère’ will reveal depth upon closer inspection despite being “fun” on a horror themed punk kinda way.

The title track/opener and “Desossé” in particular highlight the appropriately filthy, hollowed-out production sound of this album as the tumbling fury of the drummer sledges low-set but loud in the mix. I mention this not because I take issue with it, anything that gives me a hint of “Nocturnal Hell”-era Slaughter or Nihilist is instantly beloved, but it’ll be a bit damp for folks who haven’t yet achieved a late 80’s demo tape-level mindset within their ‘old school’ death metal obsession. I was more on board as I’d gotten a whiff of ‘In Battle There is No Law’ on a couple of songs, “Exsangue” in particular; The bigger point to make is these guys go for the hardcore/crust influenced side of things (“Nécrophage”) with only the hardest stuff in mind, this only adds to the crazed Eldritch vibe of the music. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (82/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
TITLE:Abysse Mortifère
LABEL(S):Temple of Mystery Records
RELEASE DATE:October 31st, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Death Metal

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