Outre – Hollow Earth (Debemur Morti Productions)Sunday, 28th October 2018
The most profound discovery (intellectually, anyway) I had during anthropology portions of my undergraduate life was the discovery of Islands of History by Marshall Sahlins. It’s a lot of things but long-story-short and how it applies to this review comes in the form of one of the books main concepts: structure of the conjuncture. Inherent word vomit aside, we see this play out daily in the metal world – the synthesis of new(er) concepts by fusing one or more of those already established.
Now that I’ve run your interest into the ground, what does it have to do with this album? Well, this album conjures a blackened death miasma that annihilates by means of extreme pressure. Take the dissonant and technical works of Ulcerate or Paracletus Deathspell Omega (inclining toward the latter in its emphasis on tightness) and marrying it with the despondent and literal weight of Nero di Marte and the playing field found on Hollow Earth is found. And a stark, beautiful field it is.
Tightly wound pieces that carry no excess and waste no time in their transit from idea to idea, whether in the pummel that opens ‘The Circle of Abhorrence’ (…it carries throughout it too) or the spiraling-melodic fire that burns with abandon in ‘Distant Daylight’, likely inspirations scream out in terror as their essences are destroyed and reforged. Not at all dissimilar from Gaerea’s outstanding Unsettling Whispers from over the summer, and part of a growing cadre of bands born in the wake of DsO’s shadow.
And it would be easy to write off if the ‘songs’ here weren’t so tightly wound. Speed and power are the keys to the kingdom on Hollow Earth but these aren’t blastfests without variation. Album centerpoint ‘Let The Earth Be Silent’ takes the time to slow down and breathe, seething darkness that offers not a respite but a quiet realization: terror found too late. To elaborate on the song’s closing minute would do it a disservice but it is catharsis made real.
Outre may owe a great deal to its French forebearers (name likely included) but Hollow Earth is a towering victory of a work. It shimmers, it sears, and by the time ‘Hollow Earth’ hums to a close, the remaining silence is deafening. Tremendous.