Outre - Ghost Chants - 012015 has been the Year of Black Metal, hasn’t it? Coincidentally, it’s also the Year of the Goat in the Chinese Zodiac, so it would make sense. With impressive releases by Imperial Triumphant, Akhlys, Mourning Mist, and Perdition Temple, you would think there would be little room for Poland’s Outre. Once the brainchild of guitarist Damian Igielski, performing all instruments by himself with vocals handled by Andrzej Nowak, they released one EP before becoming a full-fledged band with their split with fellow Polish blackened noisemakers Thaw. Now with Nowak out, they have delivered Ghost Chants, their debut full-length. And with that, you’ll need to make some more room, because this is some top-quality music.

Just as The Order of Apollyon lifted heavily from Poland on their newest (right down to the brickwalled production), Outre got their mime on and drew their inspirations from the French, namely the atmospherics of Deathspell Omega with a little bit of the progressive leanings of German newcomers Vehemenz. “Chant 3 – The Fall” provides a nice example of this, with Igielski and fellow guitarist Mateusz Jamróz providing angular-yet-shimmering riffs and melodies over Maciej Pelczar’s frantic blasts. Even Marcin Radecki’s bass can be heard coiling and slithering between the drums and the guitars, popping out whenever necessary. But those vocals… dude.

He may only be a hired hand, but Stawrogin (Crawling DeathOdraza) truly made this his playground. He has this blend of the weirdness of Mayhem‘s Attila Csihar, the snarl of Nergal (Behemoth), and the robotic cleans of Denis “Snake” Bélanger (Voivod). His performance on Ghost Chants brings the songs to a higher plane entirely. “Chant 5 – Equilibrium” is quite a dirge, made all the more special with a really cool multi-layered choir at the end. “Chant 4 – Lament” marches with atonal intent and some venomous growling and screaming. “Chant 2 – Shadow” is probably the closest this comes to being straight-forward black metal, but even then, Stawrogin’s growls and singing teleports this to the realms of the bleak and the bizarre. But the ultimate statement of intent occurs during the album’s capstone, “Chant 7 – Arrival.” It starts very ominously yet somewhat subdued, but from 2:35 on forward the song just builds and builds and builds, with the music and Stawrogin’s vocals creating a slow burn that only intensifies and strengthens until its explosive finale. This song will stick in your head long after it ends.

Outre - Ghost Chants - 02

If there is a complaint to be had, it’s with the production. Recorded at No Solace and Impressive Art Studios by M. (Mgła), the sound could be a little more dynamic. The guitars sometimes bleed into one another, causing the bass to disappear. This is definitely a nitpick though, as the actual music here is quite intriguing and memorable, and I’m truly hoping that Stawrogin goes from “session vocalist” to “full-time member,” as his screams and singing help make Ghost Chants the memorable jaunt that it is.

After a rather lackluster beginning, 2015 is really coming into its own with quality releases just four months into the year. Outre dropped an impressive debut here in Ghost Chants. If you want your blackened meal with a dash of progressive seasonings, this is it. And if you’ve already spent a ton of money just these past two months alone on quality releases, well, I apologize to you and your wallet.

Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 319 kbps mp3
Labels: Godz ov War Productions | Third Eye Temple | Essential Purification Records
Websites: OutreOfficial | Facebook.com/Outre
Release Date: Out Worldwide 04.14.2015

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  • BarryLeFreak

    Colour me impressed, there’s been a veritable ton of 4.0s and 4.5s this year. The vocalist in the embedded track reminds me strangely of Desolate Shrine/Akercocke.

  • Thatguy

    This is good, dammit

    Thanks Grymm, apology accepted.

  • Martin Knap

    Second Polish album rated great or excellent on AMG this month? To dobre chłopaki.

  • I have been waiting for their debut album since their EP(Tranquility) back in 2013, so i am glad that this is going to be good.But how can you speak of a black metal year, when neither Dodheimsgard nor Archgoat get mentioned?And don’t get me started, because both Macabre Omen and Katavasia released excellent albums this year.

    • Martin Knap

      well and Leviathan could get at least an honorable mention.

      • So good a year we can’t even remember all of them off the top of our heads. Like Kjeld. And Acherontas. And… Oh dear Cthulhu we already need a list to remember them all.

        • Martin Knap

          Good thing I married into a rich family and my wife buys me all this cool stuff.

          • basenjibrian

            EP is a free download. Will definitely buy this new one, though, too!

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Don’t you mean Omega Deathspell? ;)

    Great review. I don’t think I have ever seen so many 4.0+ reviews on this website.

    • Grymm



      • André Snyde Lopes

        It’s okay, Grymm-meister. The Mourning Mist record (the review in which you slipped up) is still my favorite record of the year so far, all thanks to your review!

  • Kronos

    Holy shit those cymbals sound absolutely atrocious in the Youtube vid. I hope the promo we got isn’t that botched.

  • Lasse Momme

    This really has been a crazy good year for Black Metal so far. Acherontas, Kjeld, A Forest Of Stars, Christgrinder, Leviathan, Der Weg Einer Freiheit, Fortid… The goat is certainly strong in this year!

  • jageorge72

    Is it just me, or are the album ratings on this site creeping higher and higher? That was one thing I really liked about AMG…… if something got a 3.5, it was actually pretty good. A 4.5 would be reserved for the best of the best, and 5.0 nearly impossible. Granted, this is only one track, and I only gave it one listen…. but c’mon. 4.5??? Quickly losing faith in the reviews on this site.

    • Icki

      Not exactly losing faith in the reviews here, but I’d agree about the feel of the rating creep.

      Of course, it could be that 2015 has genuinely seen a magnificent streak of ‘Great’ or ‘Excellent’ releases, (I haven’t had chance to pay for/listen to them all). But at the same time one of the big positives of AMG is that it recognises that not every album is somehow at least a 7 or 8/10 or something, and the sheer number of high scores recently lends itself to a feeling that this idea slips up more often than it should.

      However, Grymm’s been on staff long enough to know all of that and more, so I’d probably trust that the album is actually more towards a flawless record that the embedded song might suggest, (‘Flawless’ being a personal interpretation of a 4.5). There is obviously personal taste to account for also.

    • We do our best to monitor grade inflation and routinely discuss the rating rubric with the staff. I think what we are seeing lately is a glut of quality records more than grade creep. However, we are ever watchful and will address any trend in grade inflation with mass firings and public shaming.

      • jageorge72

        Thanks….. get the pink slips ready! Seriously though….. I’m from the old-school, pre-internet days of buying albums based on reviews, tape-trading, and word-of-mouth. I do sample a song here or there, but prefer to make my 7-8 worthy purchases a year based a handful of trusted reviews. I love the element of surprise when I get a CD. (Was a big fan of Jim Raggi/Lamentations of the Flame Princess for filtering out the garbage, and unearthing the gems out there.) I credit AMG for turning me on to the Blaze Bayley solo stuff…. one of my best discoveries of the last few years, and a few other albums. The tougher the reviews and ratings, the better. There are tons of sites that either write terrible reviews, or just heap praise on average albums. There are still a bunch of us out here that read reviews. Stay tough with the ratings, and you’ll stay better than all the other sites.

        • Two things, the site HAS changed, There are a lot more writers now, with their own independent minds and tastes, damned their uppity hearts. And this, in turn, has opened the flood gates of content, they have a chance now to review stuff that in the previous days would almost inevitably have fallen through the cracks. Yes, the site previously did a lot of legwork and filtering decisions for us, but I don’t think I would like to go back to the days we had 1 review every other day.

          Second, as someone that has heard almost every notable release from the past weeks, I do think that the though standards and the cheap bastard reputation of our overlord is safe.

          Except with that Gentle Storm thing, what’s up with THAT?

        • Grymm

          Thank you for the kind words and concern, and yes we definitely are pretty stingy with our scores. There is definitely some personal tastes in play with any review we do, but we also try our best to balance the music review with other material out there to see how each album stacks up. Not an easy task when you try your hardest to make sure each review is out in a timely manner.

          As for this album, it is definitely a great release, as I’ve been listening to it non-stop when I should be concentrating on the new Drudkh. ;)

          Thank you again!

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Was hoping I wouldn’t become a Black Metal fan as I have always kept some kind of feeling of distaste against old men in white make up, making messy-loud nonsense. And while this hasn’t swayed me yet, the combination of this and Behemoth’s work last year are pushing me to the dark side.

    Dare I ask…

    Would anyone be kind/kvlt enough to write out a list of 5-10 must-listen bands/albums for me to start my adventures into this sort of thing? All I have tried so far is The Satatnist by Behemoth, this, III by Spectral Lore and Memoria Vetusta III from Blut Aus Nord (thank you for that last one, Grymm).

    • Bathory – the first 4 from them are considered the black metal template. Venom gave the name and Bathory laid out most of the genre’s foundation.

      Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

      Darkthrone’s Transylvanian Hunger

      Burzum’s Filosofem

      Emperor’s In the Nightside Eclipse

      I think those are enough to start cutting your teeth on the genre and make up your mind if it’s for you or not.

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        Thank you, kind sir. Off into the depths of darkness I go!

        • Yes, just be advised that some of this stuff is reaaaaally low-fi. Some like it, some get really off-put by it, if you’re one of those, you may wan’t to give a chance to the stuff that Martin compiled.

      • Guest

        Some albums with mixed with elements which you might be more familiar with, that might tip you over the edge and make you a belieber:

        Watain – Lawless Darness
        Sakrom – Doomsday Elite
        Absu – Abzu

        If you have a weak spot for folkloristic stuff:

        Ulver – Bergtatt: Et eeventyr
        Drudkh – Autumn Aurora
        Helrunar – Sól I – Der Dorn im Nebel

        ~ for melody:

        Dimmu Borgir – Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
        Old Man’s Child – Born of the Flickering
        Bal Sgoth – A Black Moon Broods over Lemuria

    • Lasse Momme

      I can recommend Der Weg Einer Freiheit who just released their record “Stellar” this year, it’s really really good as well.

    • Martin Knap

      I’ll have a less kvlt list than [HKK] Hell³, just something I thing people may enjoy:

      Some albums with mixed with elements which you might be more familiar with, that might tip you over the edge and make you a belieber:

      Watain – Lawless Darness
      Sakrom – Doomsday Elite
      Absu – Abzu

      If you have a weak spot for folkloristic stuff:

      Ulver – Bergtatt: Et eeventyr
      Drudkh – Autumn Aurora
      Helrunar – Sól I – Der Dorn im Nebel

      ~ for melody:

      Dimmu Borgir – Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
      Old Man’s Child – Born of the Flickering
      Bal Sgoth – A Black Moon Broods over Lemuria

      • As far as “kvlt” goes, I think you have pretty good stuff in your own list as well, more modern production (with its own pros and cons as we all already know thanks to the angry metal-fi stuff) and a good mix of styles.

        I think that with my list I just wanted him to be acquainted with the basics. And everybody who starts to feel the cold premafrosted fingers of Black Metal taking hold of their innocent hearts should listen their classics at least once, and thus know where all this cool/cold/frostbitten stuff comes-

        I missed almost all of the Second wave craze on its own time before coming back to listening to Metal after missing pretty much all of the 90’s and the start of the 00’s and I’m grateful to the kind person who introduced me to all this stuff, so I guess I’m just paying it forward

        • Martin Knap

          Mayhem, Emperor, Burzum are of course must-listen. I would listen to some “cult” as well as newer albums, which you can listen to with no preconceptions (this is cult stuff, blabla). going back and forth between the “originators” and the “offspring” makes you understand and enjoy the music more and more. going back listening to the newer albums after listening the older ones makes you realize where certain things are coming from, and when you go from the newer to the older you get and appreciate the “cult” factor more. Anyway thats how I like to approach it.

          As to cult records: I’ll name two that I consider really great but which don’t often appear on peoples lists – they are somewhat acquired taste. they are:

          Root – Hell Symphony
          Master’s Hammer – The Jilemnice Occultist

          I also really love Hellhammer.

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            This feed is exactly why I love this damn website outside of the review content. Holy crap guys, I am amazed. Slowly making my way through these, some have seriously caught my attention. Thanks so much gents

    • jageorge72

      A few must-buys, in order of awesomeness:

      Abigor – Nachthymnen (From the Twilight Kingdom)
      Immortal – Battles in the North
      Satryicon – Nemesis Divina

    • Óðhinn

      Agalloch – Ashes Against the Grain
      Agalloch – The Mantle
      Bathory – Blood Fire Death
      Bathory – Under The Sign Of The Black Mark
      Behexen – Ritulae Satanum
      Burzum – Filosofem
      Burzum – Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
      Carpathian Forest – Black Shining Leather
      Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion
      Celtic Frost – Monotheist
      Darkthrone – Transilvanian Hunger
      Darkthrone – Under A Funeral Moon
      Darkthrone – A Blaze In The Northern Sky
      Dissection – Storm Of The Light’s Bane
      Drudkh – Forgotten Legends
      Drudkh – Autumn Aurora
      Enslaved – Eld
      Enslaved – Frost
      Enslaved – Isa
      Enslaved – Vikingligr Veldi
      Gorgoroth – Under The Sign of Hell
      Judas Iscariot – To Embrace The Corpses Bleeding
      Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
      Mayhem – Chimera
      Mayhem – Ordo Ad Chao
      Nargaroth – Herbstleyd
      Peste Noire – La Sanie des Siècles
      Primordial – The Gathering Wilderness
      Rotting Christ – Thy Mighty Contract
      Rotting Christ – Theogonia
      Satyricon – Nemesis Divina
      Satyricon – Rebel Extravaganza
      Taake – Noregs Vaapen
      Taake – Hordaland Doedskvad
      Tsjuder – Desert Northern Hell
      Ulver – Nattens Madrigal – Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
      Venom – Black Metal
      Watain – Sworn To The Dark

      • Veritable list. A bit daunting for a beginner though

        • Óðhinn

          Good point. I have a tendency to get carried away.

          I should say that AlphaBetaFoxface would be well served to start with Enslaved from my long list. Pretty much anything by Enslaved is good, even the albums which I have not listed above. They are probably my favorite Black Metal band too.

          That narrows it down, and you’ve listed the cornerstones of the genre above too. He could start with your list, which is very good.

          • Martin Knap

            1349 – Hellfire is really “hardcore”, you need to get your brain hammered into certain shape by other metal in order to get into this stuff :-)

          • Óðhinn

            Yes, you could be right. To be honest, I was thinking the same myself. But then again, Blut Aus Nord is not necessarily for the uninitiated metal ear either. If AlphaBetaFoxface is already an avid Death Metal fan (for example), it may not be as big a leap as we think. Many Death Metal bands can be just as heavy and fast. So I did decide to give a larger cross section of bands. Perhaps I went too far.

          • Martin Knap

            If he likes his metal brüüüütal then sure – that might be for him ;-)

          • Óðhinn

            More umlauts than a German dictionary. That’s Metal. m/


          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            I listened to Converge’s Jane Doe (I am no metal buff but this album does sound very similar in certain aspects to that of JD) quite a lot and I do love all things death metal, especially technical death. I am finding 1349 very interesting so far. More insane than crushingly creepy like some of the other bands listed. I think they might be a good segway from my recent listenings to more black metal!

          • Óðhinn

            Jane Doe. That’s one of the best albums of the past 20 years IMHO.

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            *naturally tries out 1349 – Hellfire first and proceeds to cling onto what is left of melted face*

          • Óðhinn

            If you like your Black Metal a bit brutal you could try Marduk, Dark Funeral, Tsjuder, and Gorgoroth.

            Sorry about your face. Have a look at my avatar. That’s actually me. It’s what years of listening to face-melting music can do. They should put a warning label on face-melting music or something. ;)

            *Warning: Marduk, Dark Funeral, Tsjuder, and Gorgoroth may cause melted face.

      • Arikael

        Naglfar – Vittra
        An alltime-favourite of mine!

        But honestly, Black Metal is quite diverse. I never got into that evil kvlt BM but I really like bands like Caladan Brood, Amienus or Gallowbraid

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Oohinns list should keep you busy :)

      to be more concise

      If you want to work back from recent years to the classics, I’d suggest these four contemporary ‘black metal’ master works. They show a good diversity within the genre.

      Inquisition’s “Obscure Verses for the Multiverse” 2013,
      Death Spell Omega’s “Paracletus” 2010
      Panopticon’s “Road to the North” 2014
      Moonsorrow’s “Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa” 2012
      (VKKM is a metal master piece and should be in any music lovers collection!)

      If you want to go back to the classics first try these on for size.

      Emperor – “In the Nightside Eclipse” 1994
      Ulvar – “Bergtatt” 1994
      Satyricon – “Nemisis Devina” 1996
      Immortal – “At the Heart of winter” 1998

  • Prostidude

    The bass tone on the embedded track is killer. Does anyone know what kind of hardware was used to create this earthquake-like, spine shattering sound?

    • manimal

      No, but it sounds like it has a bit of an SVT classic vibe to my ears, so you’d be able to get ballpark at a budget with Tech-21’s Sansamp bass drivers.

  • Óðhinn

    Holy shit, that’s good. Thanks Grymm.

  • I finally got to listen to this one on bandcamp. It shoot to the top of the must buy list.

  • Angel R. Suarez

    This album is what the plants crave.

  • Sharp-Blunt Boy

    Only ten months late to the party!

    Finances conspired against many purchases last year, but I’m truly glad I kept my own list of Things I Have Definitely Missed. This was on it; I’m playing catch up; and it is currently knocking the socks off of most 2016 releases. Yikes! And, as per your review, the singer is truly amazing, providing a smorgasboard of voices to bring the best out of the wonderful variations in riffage and atmospherics. Love it.

  • jersey devil

    Yes this deserves 4.5 absolutely.