Outre – Ghost Chants

Modern-day black metal usually has clear markers; you can look at how it presents itself and know immediately what to expect.  This is especially true with post-black metal, where alterations to original themes are sometimes so unusual each band almost becomes a separate genre in itself, perhaps a separate country, or better to say planet, maybe even universe.  So how can you tell the difference?  Well, classic black metal, which can be absolutely awesome, don’t get us wrong, is simply explained through its images and general sound.  The facepaint, the Satan this and Satan that, the upside-down crosses, 666 maybe 665 if you’re not evil enough, maybe 667 if you’re just a little more evil than most, you get it.  We all get it, we’ve been getting it for decades now.  Now, beyond that, you have the post, but how does it work?  Post-black metal takes the old black metal style and marks it self, typically, with unorthodox approaches, genre mixing, and more esoteric themes, avoiding the usual symbolism for things dealing with human experience and death, which you should find pretty evident just looking at Ghost Chants.


But what about the music?  Well, for classic black metal you get speed, especially tremolo, and atmosphere, with vocals typically delivered in shrieking fashion and what some critics have said a presence of ‘coldness’.  Post-black, which can vary wildly depending on the band in question, takes that speed and atmosphere to alter it in an unusual and novel way that it supercedes what’s come before, thus the reason for tagging it ‘post’ in the first place.  Tremolo used for ornamentation, mind-bending writing, and esoterism in sound that goes beyond Satan to things much more exotic, that’s what it’s about.  Thus, Outre already know what they’re doing.  The name itself signifies something unusual, startling, or which violates convention.  Just looking at Ghost Chants we expected that, and Outre most certainly delivered our future reveries.


So allow your hands to strip of their skin and become skeletal as you are covered in new flesh.  The mood is set immediately with “Departure”, something of a symbolic step into the territory Outre designs for the listener; seven tracks or ‘chants’ as they are titled.  Once the ritualistic opener mixes with swirling chords, it eventually leads into the album proper with “Shadow”, and the scene is set.  Ghost Chants takes the classic structure of black metal, all that speed and energy, the darkness, the atmosphere, and manipulates it into bizarre chord patterns, scales, and unexpected shifts that go from expected to experimentation frequently, giving plenty of room for acceptance from both camps of black metal.  The vocals are particularly marked as other from the beginning.  Roars, shrieks?  Yeah, Outre has those, but they also mix clean, painful moans, actual chanting, throaty gasping, and a huge variety of niceties with such a careful and deliberate vocal range it causes one’s skin shudder and tense with grotesque pleasure.  What makes this album work so well is the entire package is presented this way, from the artwork itself (check out the limited box set if you can), to the guitars/bass, the drumming, and the vocals.  Ghost Chants knows exactly when to bend your rationale behind black metal, and when to bring it back down to its foundations.  Really it’s one of the most perfect examples of the post movement we’ve seen in awhile.


Outre Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Outre: Ghost Chants
Essential Purification Records, Godz Ov War Productions, Third Eye Temple
5 / 5