Outer Heaven
Infinite Psychic Depths

You know what they say, Outer Heaven, innie belly button. Or something.

These young cosmic death metal fiends took a risk by letting five years pass between albums at a time when the new wave of old-school death metal is taking over. So, it has high expectations, especially from me since I almost literally live for this shit (seriously guys, I don’t have much else). It has to be great. I pre-ordered and have the CD in my hands currently, so maybe you already know how I feel.

“Soul Remnants,” the first track (no intro) blasts out of the gates with what could be described as technical death metal in the vein of Psycroptic. Not quite as busy, but perhaps heavier. It’s a mission statement of an opener, leaving one to think this will be a quick listen.

On the next track, one of the many guest appearances is on display with vocals from JR Hayes of Pig Destroyer sounding like a town crier. It’s one of many of the shorter tracks comprising the first half of the album. It’s nothing but speed until we get some pick scrapes, which are accompanying JR’s vocals. The final riff is incredibly crunchy and highlights the organic-sounding production.

The next track with a guest is “Unspeakable Aura,” which begins the longer songs, and is also about halfway through. There’s a brief, but killer whammy bar solo about two minutes in, but that’s not going to be what draws anyone’s attention to the track. It’s going to be the clean female vocals of Tabitha Rudy hitting a little less than 4 minutes in. They have a ghostly, spiritual quality, which adds to the atmosphere extensively despite their brevity. It gives me the feeling that anything can happen in the rest of the album.

Following that up is the longest track, “Rotting Stone/DMT.” If you haven’t listened yet and want to know how frontman Austin Haines’ vocals sound, think of a slightly higher Frank Mullen and you’re there. Not too far into it is an excellent solo courtesy of Dave Suzuki. The last couple of minutes of the track just turns into a dissonant death metal jam.

The final guest appearance I’ll mention is on “Starcrusher,” and it’s none other than the legendary Steve Tucker. He’s mostly relegated to backup vocals, but they certainly add heft and overpower Austin’s. I’m sure that was the intent, though. You don’t relegate a legend to the background. With that being said, this is the perfect track on which to feature him with its far more straight-up, speed-driven approach.

There’s only one “con” here, and it’s the runtime, which is over 45 minutes, but not in the egregious hour-plus category. Perhaps the best quality of the album is the ability for the guests to fit in seamlessly to songs seemingly made for them that also don’t stick out too far from the rest of them. All of this is just a long-winded way of saying this is diverse, but not too diverse that it’s an out-of-left-field listen. Oh, and you should buy it. Bitch.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
August 17th, 2023

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