Thursday, May 7, 2015
Ossuaire - Le Troubadour Necrophageophile DEMO 
It's not everyday that you unearth French death metal - in fact my knowledge of the genre's existence in France doesn't go too far beyond Massacra - since France's 21st century output has been marked by a colossal weaving of uncanny black metal acts more than anything else, but find you may, and trust in Ossuaire we do. This triad had independently released a debut back in 2010 (back when bare bones old school death metal revivalism was still fairly popular) but naturally it passed almost unnoticed. But before even that, they actually had a demo, buried under the nether of lost OSDM recordings, and I had the chance to uproot it. The funny thing about it is that while wildly falling to the thrill of their salacious fantasies in a rather funny way, the trio manages to cultivate a death metal sound that doesn't serve as an immediate carbon-copy of any other niche I can name; a strangely proficient brew of Bolt Thrower, Death and Finnish obscurity a la Demigod, Convulse and Depravity.
So let's be straight: this isn't something that will change the fundamentals for death metal, far from it. Through unwavering research and quests into the obscene, I've been thankfully able to discover some real 'game-changers' in the field, even at a time where the glorious pungency of Autopsy and the force-fed awesomeness of the Swedish chainsaw have expired; Ossuaire's queer little demo basically draws upon the Bolt Thrower of 1988-1992 and Finnish putrescence, not as a contender for reinventing the wheel, but as a tasty reminder of some of the ugliest records of the 90's. The tone and production on this demo is fairly outstanding because they've managed to captivate the fuzzed-out soniscape of the early 90's, but beyond that the riffs are anything if not old school, huge, cantankerous bulks of disgusting rhythms and chug fests driven with the prosaic blasting of the drums. It doesn't knock you right across the park, but it's filthy and titular enough to enjoy the sight of dislocated bones while reveling in bowels and grime. Ossuaire take paunchy sound from the American scene as well. ''Le Fleau'' is overflowing with thrashy sways and hypnotizing tremolos redolent of Immolation, Cannibal Corpse and even Morbid Angel, and unlike Bolt Thrower, they don't always stick to being 'slow', since the demo is speed-wise (and aesthetic-wise) not very far from ''Eaten Back To Life'' or something of that vein.
The Finnish influence is buried between the less noticeable tremolo patterns, like in ''Necrofistum Prima Nocte'' where they extricate a gruesome, sinister aura, though I wouldn't have minded if they had some more substance to them. The vocals aren't really too distinguished here, but if you're into the kind of timber championed by Craig Pillard or Karl Willets, they should fit your bill. The lyrics are all in French, so it's an odd delight to be hearing the same tales of gore and bloody requital sang in the language renowned for its posh extravagance. This is 'posh' death metal, and haters can fuck off. But that aside, this is hardly an introspective brand of music (in case the cover art didn't do the work) with implications that don't go far beyond your 'stock' old school death metal offering, and while it would be interesting to hear what the Frenchmen would sound like if they got on a level with, say, Trbiulation or Putrevore, the demo is solid a piece of work, but nothing I'll be listening to consistently.