Ceremony of Silence – Outis Review

The landlocked country of Slovakia doesn’t always make headlines in metal the way Finland, South America and the United States do. But, when Slovakia decides that it’s time to make a splash they certainly ante up. Similarly, the world of technical death metal doesn’t often creep up in headlines. Sure, from time to time there are purely brilliant albums that deserve the attention but, for the most part, the genre sneaks under the radar with many potential fans finding entrance to the genre difficult bordering on migraine-inducing. It’s an unfair categorization as technical death metal can produce some exciting music full of progressive ideas, atmosphere, ambiance and flat out talent. So, if you happen to be one of those people who have been having issues getting into the genre, or perhaps you’ve yet to try, take a brief break and go listen to The Erosion of Sanity by Gorguts in its entirety. This review will be here when you’re done.

Now, the reason that it’s crucial that metal fans take the time to appreciate this sub-genre is because of albums like Outis. To write off an entire sub-genre would result in missing out on this absolute gem. Combining Ulcerate-like rhythms with Gorguts-like proficiency and just a touch of Mithras’ worship of the cosmos results results in what turns out to be a truly enjoyable, rewarding listen. And what Ceremony of Silence do so well is not the sheer technical prowess or brutality of their delivery; rather it’s the opposite. Those long passages of ambiance and atmosphere that draw the listener into the fold, trapping them in those tense moments born of the “less is more” ideal.

Release date: April 5, 2019. Label: Willowtip Records.
Take the second track, “Ceremony of a Thousand Stars.” You’ll hear very triggered bass drum firing on all cylinders like a gatling gun. Guitars undulate with the fury of a thousand oceans as vocals growl hover around the instrumentation stabbing caustically at the silences between the notes. As the track nears its halfway point the guitars slowly clean up, reducing gain and distortion as their layering drifts further apart. The result is atmosphere, space and a broad, sweeping appreciation of the universe and the expanse in which we float, suspended by musical miracles. It’s in the slow decay, punctuated by dissonant guitar bends, that the track builds true tension. The bass drum a constant battering ram underneath carefully constructed harmonies dissonant enough to cause even the driest palm to clam up.

Elsewhere, songs open quietly, softly constructing their monuments to death. Like soft, evening waves guitar lines float into the composition. Some clamoring for attention from on high and some merely crying out against the night sky. “Upon the Shores of Death” is largely a false-minimalist affair. While seemingly very little is occurring musically, a cadre of guitar lines play off simple bass lines while the drums hang wide open in the background, crashing slowly. The track features no notable metal presence aside from sparse rumbles and vocal growls. There is no double bass, ever present elsewhere on the album. But the simplicity of it all, the delicate compositional hand, that makes it one of the most compelling compositions on the album.

For those who have been utterly bored by Ulcerate since Everything is Fire, Ceremony of Silence’s Outis will be a welcome and refreshing listen. Much like a glass of cool lemonade on a hot Kentucky evening. That’s not to say that Ceremony of Silence isn’t their own band it’s just impossible to get through a listen without hearing the similarities to earlier Ulcerate. Here you’ll find more progression, touches of black metal and doom and generally more variety in the compositional skill. Consider Outis a slow burn. Give it multiple spins and let it settle into your circadian rhythm before you even think about judging it. Outis is an unsettled beast of fury that, when handled delicately will reward its listener with a sort of inner peace often reserved for the death bed.

Posted by Manny-O-War

Infinitely committed to the expansion of artistic horizons. Interested in hearing your grandparent's anecdotes and recipes. @mannyowar

  1. Tech Death is not usually my thing (Gorguts notwithstanding), but there are a handful of albums I adore like The Destroyers of All, On Strange Loops, The Flesh Prevails and Dreamless (gah, Undying Light is a such a huge, room temperature turd of a disappointment…). I find these albums to be a wonderfully converse experience, that somehow the sum of all the cascading dissonance, technical prowess, and layered brutality is a deeply relaxing listen.

    The excellent review here made me immediately click play on the embed – and it definitely seems like this album has the potential to join that short list of mine. Thanks for the tip-off Manny!

    Reply

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