Initially founded in 2015 in São Paulo/Brazil, but nowadays based in Hamburg, Germany, Black Metal trio Outlaw, with D. (Daniel Souza), the band mastermind as the only original member, return with their third studio offering, Reaching Beyond Assiah.
Outlaw – Reaching Beyond Assiah (AOP Records)
Release date: 31 March 2023
Words: Jools Green
There’s a huge amount to love about this album, esoterically inspired to a degree by Kabbalah, Assiah being the lowest of the four spiritual worlds, our physical finite realm and inspiration wise, seemingly walking a similar anti-cosmic path to the likes of Dissection and Watain.
Musically it also bears that similarity. The brutal, driving and rage-fuelled aspect of Watain melded with the also driving yet more melodic feel of Dissection and combined, and it has that ability to draw me in, with no shortage of blast beats and tremolo picking. More than enough to grab my interest already, and although it follows those similar paths mentioned, it also treads on more than enough of its own fresh ground, so it’s an absolute winner, from my perspective.
Reaching Beyond Assiah manifests as a seven-track release, spanning just under forty-five minutes and includes two tracks, The Unending Night and The Serpent’s Chant, that featured on the 2021 EP Death Miasma and throughout, whether delivering an all-out assault or paring back to something a little more reflective still has that ability to grab me by the throat and demand my attention at every given moment.
Opening on Bliss Of Soul, the album single, it’s briefly icy and eerie before bursting into a blackened driving assault, and whilst this intense mood dominates, there is also an ebb and build to the sound, and the melodic elements are powerfully moving also here. Throughout the album, the raw rasping vocals are delivered with clarity of content, always a bonus when the lyrics have thought-provoking content.
To Burn This World and Dissolve The Flesh features album guest Juho Koski of Spell Of Torment delivering the second solo, a slightly more melodic offering than the predecessor but no less impactful as a result, and I like the reflective quality of the solo merging into slightly symphonic feel to the track midway with Juho’s solo tearing out of the back of that dramatically.
Reflective to open, Beyond The Realms of God suspensefully takes its time before breaking into a gently undulating drive, shifting up a gear with the arrival of the vocals. In contrast, The Unending Night breaks straight into a dark undulating drive, and there’s also some great protraction and emphasis in the vocal delivery here.
The next two pieces, the driving Everything That Becomes Nothing, with its dramatically contrasting second half drop away and the initially raw and unrelenting The Serpent’s Chant again with a dramatic drop away midway through, both feature lyrics courtesy of Narciso Legio.
The final piece and title track, Reaching Beyond Assiah, is as raw as it is reflective, a hugely thought-provoking closer.
As with previous releases, the production, engineering and mixing were once again done by Daniel Souza. Reaching Beyond Assiah will be available in CD, LP and digital formats from Plastic Head (Europe, USA, World), Edel (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and AOP Records.