Déluge – Æther

This was something long awaited, because we, as well as only a few others, realize that France is where it's happening for two genres: post-black metal and post-hardcore.  There are no equals to the power of France, and there will never be, at least not at the moment.  We've had our tastes of the greats and up-and-coming destruction from incredible labels over the past few years, including Throatruiner Records and Les Acteurs de L'Ombre Productions.  The latter we first started to creep upon, staring into their windows at night after learning that the mighty Regardes Les Hommes Tombre was going to be releasing their next full-length with them.  So we got to talking, and we got to groveling, and we said "please, oh please sir, can I have some more?"  But instead of a scepter to the head from some Napoleonic chap, we received a hefty digital package.  Now, that kind of sucks, we like hardcopy, we like to hold our music, though we understood the cost of shipping.  Luckily for us, said digital promos wouldn't work properly, so le label head (that's as good as our French gets) sent us four sick digipaks of French post-black metal and post-hardcore, which we'll be doing about once a week.  To start, we delved into Déluge, who are quite new to the game, but sound like they were preparing for it for much longer.

  

Déluge wear their name with pride, each letter like a medal upon a war-worn uniform crusted with blood.  And they had better, because if anyone seeks to frame their music with a reference to the power of water, they best sound like it.  Torrent?  We expect a torrent.  Waves?  Well, bring some waves please, and make sure they are crashing.  Whirlpool?  Already taken by an appliance company, but okay, if you choose that you better pull us into the murky depths with your sound.  So yes, Déluge, we must ask, are you bringing a severe torrent of watery waves with which to inundate our existence?  They respond with a simple 'yes'.  The artwork, by the awesome Valnoir, then further defines that 'yes' as a 'hell yes'.

 

Now, to be honest, Æther will take more than a single listen.  This is not to call it a grower, far from it, it's simply more involved than the usual post-hardcore or black metal, or as Déluge calls it, the untrve type.  This album is something like the black metal equivalent of The Planets, except about fluid, generally, especially the cold, bleak variety.  Each track, thus, is part of a whole with a central theme hidden within the text and music, connected with an overreaching ambiance like a dreary, gray day of rain.  It's possible to separate the tracks, but yet they complement each other, one song devastating, the next melancholy and fitting to its title (such as "Klarträumer").  Thus, Æther requires more than one listen to understand what it's all about.  Déluge provide exactly what their name entails, a mercilessly battering kind of post-black metal that ravages the body like a stormy sea, then tosses it to the banks where it's saturated in a light drizzle for a few days, drawing oxygen from the limbs until the extremities are purple and racked with pain. You wake up still alive, something like a shriveled old salt, but you haven't a clue how to captain a ship.  Interestingly, the production is consistent, Déluge's chord work creating huge sweeps of sound, which may make it difficult to tell what they're actually playing at first listen, which is really only one of two faults on this, their first full-length.  The other is the vocals, the primary element of post-hardcore to be found here, delivered at almost the same level and style throughout the entirety. That's what hardcore always does, and it's not the approach they should have chosen in this case, because Æther begs for vocal variety to bring to even out the musical presence.  But, as a whole, the steady screaming works, it can simply become monotonous, turning the crushing waves into so much crush that there's scarcely a bone left in your body to break.  But, let it be known they're signed to Les Acteurs for a reason, and you should probably pay attention to what comes in the future. Hopefully it's like a hurricane or something.

 

Déluge Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Déluge: Æther
Les Acteurs de L'Ombre Productions
4.5 / 5