Formed in 2009 by members with common ties in the short lived black/death metal band Angstrom the duo of Atheos (Monarque) and Thorleif (Valknacht) are the major components of Québécois melodic black metal band Délétère. Characterized by their Sognametal-esque lead guitars and Goatmoon adjacent melodic riffing much of their debut full-length ‘Les Heures De La Peste’ in 2015 offered a raw and cloying melodrama often compared to Csjethe before them. Their self-recorded sound helped roughen what was otherwise fairly standard instrumentation and only their melodic sensibilities made Délétère notable. On this second full-length aggress beyond their formative state and pull together a melodic atmospheric black metal record that is perhaps too ambitious to be considered accessible, despite it’s occasionally flamboyant treatment of melodic guitar work.
An intermediary work in every sense, the French-Canadian fellowes’ 2017 EP ‘Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam’ might have been clouded with a murky mix but their composition had refined to the point where their stylistic goals were realized. Perhaps because they were melodic, shared live members, and were also from Québec comparisons to Forteresse became oddly rampant. Though it isn’t an entirely unfit connection Délétère is far closer to bands like Fin or Dumal in style, melodic black metal that is ambiguous enough that it still reads as black metal to the less discerning ear. So, it is highly melodic black metal with a focus on lead guitar work and some disparate elements of depressive suicidal black metal (Austere, particularly). Previous releases called for vibrant production without the ‘edge’ polished from their tonality and in this sense ‘De Horae Leprae’ was captured and mixed in good taste.
Through proverbs of worm-like parasitic men and plague bearers Délétère wail a horror narrative by their own design. Considering the themes of pestilential glorification within, I couldn’t help but feel like ‘De Horae Leprae’ was either written as celebratory music for disease or if their melodic interests might’ve felt too cheerfully epic. I am a ridiculous sucker for highly melodic extreme metal guitar work so whatever interpretation of lyric or theme is pointless in the face of melodic intent. Sweeping and well-formed as it might be this second Délétère is overly long and musically redundant, not unlike a melodic punk album that features the same progression 8-10 times before it ends. There are no lack of grand moments, though, and I don’t think it’s excess will outright offend dedicated fans of this style of black metal.
“Cantus VI – Barathra I” is the perfect example of each strength and weakness of ‘De Horae Leprae’ with it’s glorious melody unfolding beautifully then rising again in three identical peaks. This sort of simple structure repeats frequently across the album and blurs the distinction of it’s separate parts. As grand as the ‘rise, fall and repeat’ motif of their black metal orchestra is, it wears thin across the album’s 65 minute length. If willing to devote 2-3 hours of repeated listening to the experience the majesty of the guitar work makes itself more available but I found myself unwilling to devote more than an hour at a time beyond the first 2-3 listening sessions. I would only recommend this to fans that can crossover between groups like Woods of Desolation and Mgła who seek variation on a theme rather than variation itself.
|Released||June 15, 2018|
|BUY from Sepulchral Productions (CD/Digipack)
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Melodic Black Metal
Qui vivra verra. 3.25/5.0
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