Label: Les Acteurs de l’Ombre
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/19/2015
Band info: Facebook
It seems Deluge is a common name to use as a band name. There are around eight bands the have used this name, from all genres, all around the world. From electronic to minimal ambient, hardcore to alternative rock, dance music to even symphonic black metal musical acts. But the French Deluge has a different sound and story with the band somehow styling their name to all caps D E L U G E.
DELUGE released Mélas | Khōlé back in 2014 as their debut demo and a year later they came back with their first ever full length record Æther. This 55 minutes epic record collects everything’s best in atmospheric/post-black metal with huge touches of post-hardcore, wandering throughout these genres with purpose, thus pushing Æther as one of the best 2015 album nominees. Yes, out of nowhere it happened and this is true. DELUGE and Æther are like a torch-bearer, an excellent example of where European modern black metal scene is going, while they’re defining their own style of music and affecting other continents and countries.
So, when it comes to listen to a perfect record it means you are waiting to listen to a music record full of variety and diversity in songwriting. Æther confronts listeners to such a record like this. With the opener track “Avalanche” band deliver huge attacking tunes of blastbeats-driven black metal, while the band are not so pleased to introduce their album with a two or three minutes instrumental prelude. Just less than two minutes into the album, the band change the tune with an ambient arpeggio-filled interlude joined by sounds of thunder and rain, in typical way. And you guessed it right, the band shifting again to the previous form of music what they opened the album with. “Appats” the second song of the album follows with the same songwriting, while it sounds like “Avalanche” second part.
Same structures are repeating throughout Æther times and times again and the band don’t go too far to experience more new ambient sounds or new instruments, yet it won’t push the album to suffer from monotonous themes and structures while the band’s strong tastes in post-hardcore, sludge and post-metal genres are coming to help the band’s musical direction, turning it to more dynamic one. Clearly listenable atmospheric post-metal influences is where “Naufrage” starts, right before the vocalist jumps in and reshapes the song to a faster, black metal part. Mid-paced post-metal/post-hardcore themes are connecting the DELUGE’s musical parts with their each other while the band mostly-focused musical force is nothing but atmospheric black metal. Mesmerizing fifth track “Houle” can describe it completely. Æther sees a guest appearance of Neige (of Alcest) on the third song “Mélas | Khōlé”.
As long as DELUGE is bounded with the massive usage of thunder and rain sounds in Æther, half of the instrumental song “Klarträumer”, the longest song of album is packed with those sounds effects which it exposes one of the few minor album’s problems. Five minutes of repetitive arpeggios tries to add some post-rock vibes into the album but it fails to somehow a boring piece. The longest song of the album could be more exciting than this. On the other hand the keyboards/piano additions right near the end song brings a little more joy to listeners’ ears.
“Vibe” comes up as probably one of the best pieces of Æther. A slight usage of audio sample of a man who desperately says “I’m not crazy” and outrageously shouts “I don’t care what anybody thinks!” and there’s enough potential that DELUGE go for that emotional part as the highest point of the song to attack. Once again a tremendous mixture of black metal and post-hardcore lays down the track to keep on going with its highest power to the end of the album.
Musicianship in Æther is masterful. Each members of the band have played their own instruments perfectly while the sharp production of the album makes it sounds quite embracing, leveling up the sound of Æther to a higher pureness. After a few first listens, Æther comes out more like a one-song-album divided into nine pieces. Using the same songwriting pattern for each of these nine songs portrays it would be a 55 minutes dark, grieving and melancholic musical journey. Fans of Downfall of Gaia and Der Weg Einer Freiheit would love this album, where there are so many musical influences and similarities.
Words by: Arash Khosronejad (@arashkh)