Everything about this record blares old-school death metal. Look at the cover; it’s timeless metal art. Outre-Tombe is a great name for an old-school death metal band. Nécrovortex is one of the coolest titles of 2018 in any genre. The cards are stacked in Outre-Tombe’s favor, and they squeeze every drop out of the opportunity afforded to them, making one of the best death metal records of 2018. Although it seemed like few people in our regular readership missed this humdinger of a record, giving great death metal the spotlight surely won’t hurt.

This is the most earnestly and deliberately old death metal record I’ve heard this year. Outre-Tombe sounds like old Quebec death metal bands less technical than Cryptopsy (Necrotic Mutation or Gorelust) decided to merge their own style with a concoction of Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, Entombed, and Autopsy. Outre-Tombe plays this style as if it never got old, because it never really did; the boring bands in this vein just ran out of riffs. One working theory is that Outre-Tombe has simply been hoarding all of those missing riffs and decided to unleash them on Nécrovortex so we puny plebs can get a taste of deathly delicacy.

The general praise I see about Nécrovortex involves it sounding like a record left behind in the early 90s unearthed and unleashed upon the world in 2018. This is a bit misleading, as Outre-Tombe are clearly trying to continue down the trail blazed by the old masters of the style—this ain’t no reheated rehash. An uncanny knack for writing great death metal songs and a palpable energy is what links them to the classics of old. Close listens show a band writing decidedly new songs that build on, but never slavishly emulate, the source material.

Trying to detail the highlights of Nécrovortex is annoying. This is music that lends itself to listens at ear-shredding volume where you’re clobbered with riffs for thirty-six minutes straight. Sometimes you’re slapped with the best Bolt Thrower style riff you’ve heard in years on the title track. Other times, you’re hit with the quintessentially death metal main riff in “Aberration” with those stuttering drums emphasizing all the right notes in all the right places. Another time you’re bulldozed by the heaving death-doom riff in “Écorché Vif.” Then there’s the flaying of the great “Captor of Sin” meets “Left Hand Path” intro lead of “Désintégration.” The list goes on and on.

I debated even writing one of these for Outre-Tombe, mainly because saying this is killer death metal is like splashing someone with water and saying “this is wet.” Records this good should be ignored by nobody, and if you only have space in your heart or funds in your wallet for a few old-school death metal record this year, Outre-Tombe should be at the top of your tiny list. At thirty-six minutes, Nécrovortex absolutely flies by and practically pushes play again by itself. This is essential death metal with no frills or lulls, only riffs.

Tracks to Play and Remember Why You Liked Death Metal in the First Place: “Vengeance Spectrale,” “Nécrovortex,” “Désintégration”