Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Review: The Outsider – From Ancient Gods and Forbidden Books

Label: Self released

Date: April 24th, 2020

Speaking of weird, this one might just be the weirdest. Speaking of genre mergers, this one might just be the one to merge the most of them. Quite frankly, it is a mystery to me how I’m going to get through this review. I have half a mind to do it song-by-song. Summing it all together seems rather impossible from this point of view. I will try and you just forgive me for the babble this might turn into.

First, some general information. The Outsider is a one-man project out of Mexico City. This is the second full album by The Outsider (as the man presents himself by the same name). The first one, self-titled debut, was released in two versions. The regular one and the orchestral one that came out a year after. Could this be the fate of “From Ancient Gods and Forbidden Books”? Not sure, but I don’t think so. Mostly because there’s really not much more one can do to this recording. Let me explain…

The album is comprised of everything. Quite literally, everything! There is death metal. There are bombastic orchestrations. Mediterranean melodies. Jazz. Industrial noises. Choirs. Saxophone. Narrations. Ancient traditional instrumentations. Symphonic, death, industrial, gothic, jazz, folklore… Metal? Sure, let’s throw it into consideration. Throughout the record, organic and mechanical sounds take each other’s place in leading the listener through the musical maze. While it may be interesting to roam around and explore the different musical aspects, this is just way too much to take in. Variations are very much fine. Even commendable. But they need to be done tastefully and not just pasted on top of one another. This is just a giant disarray of different aspects. The album lacks any sort of line one can follow through. At times, The Outsider can remind you of Septic Flesh. But not for very long. It could just be a minute and you will hear some sort of “spacey” ambient tones. Or some industrial noise. Followed by the eerie atmospheric passage. And then some slow and heavy death metal jumps in. On “Suicide in Progress” I thought of Laibach. “The Divine Punishment” is completely made of ambient and noise intersected, though it is the final track and could be construed as an outro. The opener, on the other hand, starts with some synthesizer to become a sort of tribal death metal. All the while being heavily orchestrated. Won’t mention any more examples…

Now, up to the mentioned “Suicide in Progress” this is an overly metal album. With a whole lot of add-ons, but metal prevails. And then metal takes a secondary position. Maybe even tertiary. And that’s where however little sense this album made completely vanishes. Up to a point when it is hard to even listen to it. Not least important, this is a 66 minutes long record. Having been as professional as I could, I gave it a couple more spins. At this point (yes, it is still spinning) the album is pretty much getting on my nerves. The topic this album revolves around is horror, psychological and cosmic (Yes, Lovecraft fans rejoice! Or not!). But I’m sure it was not meant to make your head hurt. There probably should have been different emotions involved. Definitely not irritation. Perhaps it’s just me.

Oh, there are a couple of (more or less) famous guests on this album. It is the only selling point I can see here.