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Destination Quebec - 91%

Felix 1666, July 14th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Sepulchral Productions

Métal noir Québécois is still a young movement and its unspoilt energy has already enriched the global black metal scene. Endless guitar lines characterise the new sound and Délétère is a very good representative of this amazing style. The dudes took the direct way into my metallic heart with their debut and the subsequent EP and therefore it was a matter of course to buy their new full-length. The promo sheet tells me that it is a concept album about a leper who becomes both a prophet and the incarnation of the plague, but the French language gives me no chance to understand the probably interesting details. Nevertheless, I like the fact that they use this language, even though the lyrics do not deal with patriotic topics. It is an identity creating feature of their sub genre and it has its own special sound which fits much better to metallic infernos than I thought.

However, nine "French" songs in 64 minutes are by no means an easy listening stuff. In spite of the coherent song patterns, it takes a little time to feel comfortable in the cosmos of the Canadians. But as soon as one has a grasp for their way of proceeding, the songs shine in full bloom and they grow with every new round. It remains a mystery to me why they have recycled a track of the excellent EP, yet this is no problem at all in view of the opulent playtime. The new version of the wild, blustery and phenomenal "Cantus IV – Inopia et Morbo" blends seamlessly with the new material, because the stylistic approach has remained unchanged. This means that the band unfolds its entire repertoire of dramatic, furious, desperate and aggressive yet mostly melodic elements, while the velocity is more or less constantly high (only the eighth piece presents a calm intermezzo). The complete material avoids trivial flatness, quite the opposite. Tracks like "Cantus II - Sagina Caedendis" reveal an enormous depth and create a sombre atmosphere.

Generally speaking, each and every tune boasts with vibrancy. Fire enlightens the path of the divisions from Quebec and the here reviewed work does not intend to decrease the temperature. The material is like a vortex that drags the listener directly to the torrid centre of the earth. It does not lack rough edges, nonetheless, the irresistible flow of the compositions, another trademark of Quebec's legions, deserves respect. Moreover, the single contributions do not suffer from fundamental flaws. The charismatic lead vocals, for example, express many different emotions like fear, despair, fury or hysteria. Although the instrumental wall of sound takes its toll, the voice is not pushed into the background. The drums sound slightly blurred, but I guess this is just a collateral damage in view of the hyper-fast hammering that shapes broad parts. Keyboards and organs also show up, presumably due to the religiously motivated concept. But no need to panic, they are well embedded and increase the density of the sound. The "shortest" track (5:42), "Cantus V – Figura Dysphila", is among those numbers which prove evidence that keyboards can add value to the sound of the Canadians. By the way, the same goes for the timpani in the seventh track.

All in all, there can be no doubt that Quebec's scene is a force to be reckoned with. Even better, it stands firmly on its own feet. One can argue that Délétère's sound is not original, because it equals that of Forteresse and further bands from the Canadian metropolis. But the black metal explosion in this town is exactly based on this sound and the comparable approach of the different protagonists has become the most important characteristic of this movement, because it shows impressively that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. So thumbs up for an album that avoids boring ambient sequences. Actually promising bands like Sanctuaire that have yet to unleash their full potential, can learn from this output how black metal really works. The fantastic, eclectic and majestic yet predominantly fast closer alone has everything it needs to stimulate the ambitions of the band's competitors (and my ambitions to take a trip to Quebec). Furthermore, it is the final proof that the album deserves a rating of, well, let's say 91%. So what else can I do?