Outre - Tranquility (EP) (2013)


Not every band or album needs a gimmick, or even a tag line to help advance their music. The perfect example of that theory comes from Krakow, Poland, in the form of a two piece band simply called Outre. The two men involved as the core of the outfit, instrumentalist Damian Igielski and vocalist Andrzej Nowak, don't need a fancy introduction or a laundry list of styles and influences to get their point across. So much can be said about the combination of artwork, done by Marcin Gadomski, and title of the EP. When your mind assimilates the two, it is as if you can feel the cold winds of the mountains blowing past you. That chilled feeling is the beginning of something musically challenging, but wholly rewarding. On their four track EP, "Tranquility," Igielski and Nowak give you a cross section of what happens when genre tags no longer exist, and things are allowed to happen organically.

With the intro to "Of Drowning," there is a doom element at play, in both the tempo and tone of the instrumental. Even when the vocals enter, different from the traditional blackened screams you may have expected, the crawling pace makes the track that much more powerful. But aside from that one slow beat, it starts to seem as though the track doesn't have much else to offer. It isn't until the midway point that things take a dramatic change. With a dizzying flurry of guitars, bass and drums, the second movement is launched. Even with the vocal line being the constant, they infuse a dose of melody to the entire mix.It helps to blur the genre lines that may have seemed clear earlier, transforming the song into something more multidimensional. But from those atmospheric ashes rises a thrash inspired phoenix, in the form of the drum heavy "Tachypnea." The most intriguing and rewarding part is the guitar work, switching back and forth between a multitude of styles. And though the production work does let them down at times, the track on the whole is well put together and concocted. The outro portion, in particular, stands out in a significant way, chock full of blast beats and crashing riffs.

In the opening measures of "Sea Of Mercury," the all out black metal assault that may have seemed inevitable comes to pass. In a manner of organized chaos, instrumental and vocal come together as one. Their unity forms the verse, while a more rich chugging segment occupies the bridge and chorus structures. It is the evolution of the track, from start to finish, that becomes the signature of the band. It is as though they are recreating the evolution of man within each four minute opus, starting in the most raw form, and eventually moving into more detailed and modern ones. That thought applies here, with the song ending on a deathly growl. Perhaps the most ambitious and creative track on offer here in the closing one, "Hear The Voice." With lyrics based on the William Blake poem of the same name, it is almost immediately that the infectious guitar groove takes you, surrounded by a sea of cymbals crashing from the right side. A brawling set of fills, rolls and blast beats takes things in an entirely more aggressive direction, only to be interrupted later by a subtle, yet beautifully played saxophone solo, courtesy of Bartłomiej Wielgosz. The combination of the down tuned guitars, drums, and a screeching, flowing melody at the hands of a woodwind is staggeringly impressive.

Maing a great album is a challenge in and of itself; making a great album that defies labels is even moreso. The true victory is knowing that this album, these four tracks of varied and versatile heavy metal music, could be recommended to fans the world over, whether they favor black, death, doom, avant or progressive music. "Tranquility" has something for everyone, without ever seeming like it was trying to cater to one and all. Instead, the twenty minutes of harsh vocals, distorted guitars, bass, and plethora of percussion feel as though they were created and perfected for the enjoyment of their makers. By letting the music speak for itself, rather than cloud the listeners ears with buzz words and cliches, Outre are doing themselves a great service. With one listen, it is easy to find yourself at the tree line, letting the cold winds of the music blow past you.

8/10

Bandcamp - http://outremetal.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/outremetal