After three years and a guitarist change, Quebecois old-school death metal outfit Outre-Tombe has returned with its sophomore record Nécrovortex. While this author is only passingly familiar with the group’s debut Répurgation, Nécrovortex manages to conjure quite a different vibe without abandoning the band’s essential sonic ethos. The school in question is still old, but there is a somewhat more refined approach this time around. Refined being a relative term, of course, when it comes to what is still some rather bloodthirsty death metal.
Label: Temple of Mystery Records
Overall, despite some refinement, Nécrovortex is still a pretty rotten death metal record. Vocalist/bassist Crachat has a voice that sounds like a cross between Martin van Drunen at his most haggard and Chuck Schuldiner at his screamiest bloodiest goriest (and don’t miss the Tom G. Warrior-approved death grunt in “Concile Cadavérique”), which keeps Outre-Tombe firmly in the filth. Furthermore, Nécrovortex has plenty of instances of unabashed, old-school brutality, and you don’t have to wait like to hear one, as track two “Désintégration” pretty much roars full-throttle from it’s Slayer-esque opening solo to its cacophonous close.
Solos were definitely a highlight of Répurgation, and the exit of lead guitarist Danger might have been some cause for concern, but his replacement Désastre fills Danger’s shoes quite nicely. Danger was a bit more of a technical and melodic player, but Désastre is just as expressive and exciting, if a bit more chaotic.
Did I mention that the riffs were good? They are, and there are shit-loads of them. Need a little melodically induced madness? Check out the second riff in “Aberration.” Searching for a some dirge-y doom-death? The mid-section of “Concile Cadavérique”, has just what the doctor ordered. Sublimely evil tremolo-riffs? “Vengeance Spectrale” has you covered. Grooves, you say? Those are friggin’ everywhere.
Regardless of Outre-Tombe’s subtle change in approach, Nécrovortex is some high-order old-school death metal. In a crowded field and to a very jaded writer, this album is a standout. To put it in perspective, if Répurgation was Reign in Blood, Nécrovortex is South of Heaven: it might seem like a bit of a let-down initially, but in time you’ll likely come to realize it is a magnificent album in its own right.