Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2022
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Deluge > Æther > Reviews
Deluge - Æther

Here's Deluge - 80%

dismember_marcin, January 11th, 2019

Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions is this great, but relatively small French label, that released several (mainly French) acts, which circle around the more progressive, experimental black metal sounds. It’s always an anxiety and surprise what will we find on their releases. And you can always expect something uncommon and original. Which is a great trademark of Les Acteurs de l'Ombre, even if for me it can be a total miss (Pensées Nocturnes' "Nom d'une Pipe!") or a great listening experience (The Great Old Ones, Paramnesia). Recently they unleashed some new albums and I am proud to have a chance checking them all and writing some sentences on each of them. And I start with Deluge. It’s relatively new project, which was formed only in 2013, but already had a demo and now a debut full length album titled “Æther” is released. First, I was quite sceptic when seeing the artwork, which surely is not typical for (black) metal bands, but since I cannot read the French lyrics I will put the conceptual side of “Æther” aside and focus just on the music.

And I do admit that Deluge music is damn awesome. They’re not a typical black metal band. Well, I am not sure if they’re black metal at all, even if there are many influences from this style of music. As a whole, “Æther” is far from what we usually call “traditional black metal”. For sure though the so called post metal / post black metal and even post hard core are the foundation of this music, if only by the “post” term we mean the way of creating the mood and generally when we deal with these unique song structures that are so characteristic for this style of music. What I really like in it is how the guitars are setting up the feeling, as they often have this kind of hypnotizing mood that puts you into some sort of trance. And for me this music can even be instrumental for a long time, with vocals being something additional, as long as the atmosphere is there. And well, it definitely is in Deluge! The riffs, especially when played in slower pace, have this thunderous, heavy punching strength, with some clean guitar tones here and there to set a calmer atmosphere... which is always a classic “calm before the storm” thing, as soon Deluge erupts with another distorted and massacring riffage. I am actually surprised that Deluge has so many damn fast, blasting parts, as it’s not something so common for this genre, I suppose. And believe me, “Æther” is releasing the fury and anger and is more uncompromising than most of similar albums. This is also where that black metal side of the album prevails.

It’s a long album, close to one hour of music, but it never feels too much, since Deluge does everything to bring as much variation as possible, even if they don’t really go anywhere further than a mixture of the mentioned fast black metal and post metal / hardcore riffage with some clean guitar tones here and there. But they do it well enough. You can hear that already in “Avalanche”, which is the first song here, kicking off with some seriously massacring piece, which actually do have the strength and speed of avalanche, destroying everything on its way with no mercy. But later in this song they find time to calm down, to bring a quiet, sorrowful theme… and that ends again abruptly with another riff played with neckbreaking speed. That sounds great. And I am not even bothered with these vocals, which are more like a hard core scream than black metal shriek, since they just fit the music very well.

In “Appât” I like the blasts again, but also that sick melody in it and sort of epic touch added to some of the fragments. Then we have “Mélas | Khōlé” and “Naufrage” and they are again simply awesome songs, especially the latter, as it’s so damn heavy, so damn memorable also, just crushing you into the ground. I almost regret that the band speeds up in this song again, as it becomes kind of their own cliché and maybe this song should go a bit different direction. Anyway, it’s still damn awesome, I like it a lot for being heavy, but also for the melancholic, tranquil finish. And later “Klarträumer” brings attention, as it’s a long instrumental piece, so it reminds me Pelican or this sort of bands, with some blackish riffs breaking the calmness somewhere in the mid section. This song as well as “Hypoxie“ perfectly resumes the whole album.

And well, I can say that Deluge did fantastic job with “Æther”. I mean, this album doesn’t lack anything, it is superbly performed, the songwriting is great, song structures are interesting and more so, the production is simply powerful, so every riff and other instruments are heavy and neck breaking. Great, recommendable debut, so do not hesitate to grab a copy.

Standout tracks: “Klarträumer”, “Hypoxie“,“Naufrage”

Precipitation rarely punches this hard - 67%

autothrall, December 17th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions (Digipak)

Deluge are somewhat of an anomaly in how they arrive at a similar space to a lot of sludgier black metal bands but do so through an entirely different roster of influences, the most prominent of which are those in the post-hardcore field. There are a few similarities to New York's Castevet, Flourishing or fellow Frenchmen Celeste, who put out a number of killer records, but these gentlemen are far more direct in execution, and the shining series of chords they implement is used to a largely brutal effect. Most of the tracks here are front-ended or book-ended by rain samples, and it creates much to the band name's credit this utter downpour of emotion that can actually grow quite exhausting through its blasted portions which are dressed up with simple but surging rhythm guitars that channel a slightly airy presence over the tightly knit bass and drums.

It's not always a tug of war between the stillness and storms, they do perform some slower paced material which is just as basic in construction. This is another case where the music itself doesn't require a lot of variety or proficiency, the production is just so enormous and crushing that it can transform even the most minimal of notations into something more emotionally effective. I did get a little tired of the shouted, harsh vocals, which just grew a little monotonous, and I craved a little more intricacy in the guitar riffs, which are just standard flumes of tremolo picked chords with a slightly brighter feel than your average European black metal. The blast beat sections feel just overly straightforward, so once you've latched on to the patterns they never go anywhere unexpected, and a few bizarre or unique melodies popping up through the verses and choruses could have worked wonders against the more stable backdrop. The cleaner guitar progressions are also a little mediocre, they function only to create contrast but never seem so memorable by themselves.

In terms of engineering, Æther is just enormous; the drums alone will beat you into submission before you can even reach the volume control. But when the whole band is pouring on all the rhythmic concrete, you feel like this is just a pure wall of force. Bass lines don't deviate much from the rhythm guitars, but at least they're thick in the mix and thus ground the assault. Cover art by fellow French artist Metastazis for the digipack is just about perfect, a hypnotic image that does actually reflect how the band sounds. Ultimately, though, while I can't fault the sound Deluge are going for, this particular selection of songs all too rarely thrills with memorable licks, it's all too direct as it flattens the listener. Subtle touches like the distant, clean vocals in "Avalanche" are quite nice, but I just wish there were more of them, and that the band would invest in more jerky and unusual guitar riffs like a lot of the groovier post-hardcore bands from earlier eras. A curious, solid foundation has been laid out here, but I'd just like the architecture that springs from it to captivate my senses a little more than just merely beating me with a hammer.