Déluge’s Æther: The Toilet ov Hell Review

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One of the many things that modern metal teaches us is that bending the lines between genres can produce some seriously excellent results. France’s Déluge proves this handily by combining the best of black metal and vitriolic post-hardcore on their debut full-length Æther.

Post-hardcore is a tough genre to define. Black metal, at least in 2015, is also a tough genre to define. The most obvious aspect of Déluge’s concoction is the raw and furious black metal signature in the instruments, while the vocal delivery contrasts with a harsh, barking hardcore style. I’ll admit that it took a song or two for me to be convinced, as I was ready for a raspy shriek or a forlorn howl. However, the almost pained screaming style fits the weight and drama built into the instrumental work precisely. The whole package is undeniably morose, building spacious chords and raw snarling on top of mournful tonalities that all work to complement the band’s name. Mental images of cascading water and flooding rain are abundant; the band drives this aspect home with frequent sound samples of rain throughout the album, acting as a unifying thread weaving through their material.

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The floodgates of the album are immediately opened with the song “Avalanche,” establishing their furious approach to tonality and atmosphere. We immediately get the sense that this is not a riff-based band, reminding us of the genres Déluge is melding. The heavily trudging intro to “Naufrage” (French for “Shipwreck,” if my complete command of the French language Google Translate is to be trusted) is a standout moment of the first half of the album for me. The single-minded, unified weight of the thing is an excellent contrast to the tradeoff between atmosphere and blasting we’ve heard so far. The song later spaces out to just anguished screaming and a background guitar line, another memorable moment that I can’t necessarily tie into whatever I’m talking about right now, but it was really awesome and I enjoyed it.

“Houle,” the first single available before the September 19th release date, is the tour de force of the album. Furious blasting, bitterly somber chord progressions, and deft transitions make the nearly 7-minute run time go by in a blur. Déluge returns to a hypnotizing, sludgy approach for the outro, ending the song in a highly juxtaposed manner from the beginning. It transitions smoothly into the second half with “Klarträumer,” an instrumental work that you would be very wrong to skip. There are albums that I love with instrumental songs that I pass over every time, but the haunting beauty and brilliant pacing of this song are very much worth repeated listenings.

As a debut full-length, Æther is a bold statement from Déluge. There are times I would have liked to hear a little more variety, but I can clearly see this band growing and developing with future releases. I’ll count this as another win for the always-excellent Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions, an excellent black metal label out of France. Æther comes out Semptember 19th; physical copies can be ordered here and the digital copy can be purchased here. Check the band out on Facebook and tell them the Toilet sent you, they’ll probably have no idea what you’re talking about.

(Photos VIA)

TOILETSCALE_4_of_5

4/5 Toilets ov Hell

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  • Vote for Jeb

    The old Dubhausen Doubleteam.

  • BEARD OV GREAT DAWKINS

    Frenchwave is where its at for this genre imo, other than the us

  • The vocals remind me a lot of As Cities Burn, which is not bad. The music makes my feels tingle. This is a good recipe.

  • Dagon

    Great review. I have no problem with hardcore vocals (most of the time) so I think this will be a win for me… Gonna save it on my perennial wishlist for later consumption.

    • That’s what I call a… PERENNIAL QUEST!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpFjZcxA11Q

    • Moar shouting in black metal plz. Seriously, I can jam this because of that fact. BM vocals are a huge deterrent for me.

      • Wut?

        • I’m snobby when it comes to vocals. When they are bad and the music is good, it’s like someone made a real nice painting and decided to top it all off by taking a shit on it. Deafheaven is a perfect example.

          • You no like BM vocals? Flush. Hahahahahahahahahahhabut seriously, I get it. I can be the same way. I happen to love BM screeches but have a hard time dealing with more hardcore style yelling.

          • We are polar opposites on that I guess.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      It’s weird to me when metal dudes complain about hardcore vocals.

      • Dagon

        Same here, but hey, sometimes black metal shrieks bother me. Can’t quite pin down why, but some BM vocals do.

        Don’t even get me started on slam haha.

      • Óðinn

        I’m mostly bothered by falsetto, clean, Power Metal, vocals personally. I’m very picky about clean vocals. Most Metal vocalists who try to “sing” rather than scream, either can’t or shouldn’t.

  • I like how the guitars assemble as rain drops in the ft. Neige song. But the vocals doesn’t do it for me. I can try to spin it more, to check if I can dig more the vocals, because the instrumention is very good.

    Solid review, Stocky. I concur with you about the need of variations (given the two songs I listened this morning), but it’s still a good debut by this band.

    • Hubert

      It’s cool that Neige is still involved with metal projects, considering the direction that Alcest took on their last record.

      • Metal or not, I think Neige is still a good artist that still have a lot to offer. I am cool with that too.

        I just hope he doesn’t go full Pitbull making only featurings.

        • BEARD OV GREAT DAWKINS

          Neige is godlike.

          Also a very tall dood when we met him

          • Stanley

            Does he change his height then?

          • BEARD OV GREAT DAWKINS

            I think its a french thing

          • Stanley

            Those pesky shape shifting frogs.

  • Hubert

    Sounds great. I really like the hardcore shouts on here, which I rarely do, so that’s impressive. I’m eagerly awaiting the full release.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    The cover art is cool. But the song… it’s fine. Good but not great, there’s ittle happening and the atmosphere isn’t very “dense” Song lives with the drumming, and I like the break right after four minutes.

    Looking forward to hearing the whole thing.

    • With the amount of new music to look forward to… I hope I remember to listen to it!

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        Time is the enemy.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Hardcore bite cloaked in epic gloom. I like it. And good review dude! 🙂

  • Spear

    I’m really digging the vocal approach on this. I’ve always been a fan of screams that incorporate a little bit of a yell into them. The music is really solid, too.

    Side note: if you decide to order a physical copy, the label is offering a bundle with three other new releases (Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, Maieutiste, and Moonreich) in CD format. Saves you about 8€ on the discs, not to mention some shipping costs.

    • Stockhausen

      Good info! That new Maieutiste RULES.

    • Joe should pin this.

  • Boy am I not digging these drums.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Apparently Donald Duck was a Nazi in a few Disney cartoons. I’m sad now.

    • Óðinn

      A lot of early Disney stuff was racist. Although, that particular cartoon, Der Fuehrer’s Face, was actually an anti-Nazi film.

    • Death

      ‘Twas a wartime propaganda cartoon against nazism.

    • Sgt. Poopypanty’s Fartin Teeth

      Oh, god, there’s many many racist bits in old school Disney. Hanna Barbera was just as bad.

  • InfinityOfThoughts

    Some friends and I are trying to get a black metal band together: the vocals we use are a low growl and bark, with raspy mids and Low cleans.

    IE: I like it when “non traditional” vocals are used in BM, not just the raspy stuff we’re all used too.

    On a side note, I recommend Pumpkin Down from Ballast Point Brewery. It’s a nice scotch Ale mixed with pumpkin and spice.

    • Sgt. Poopypanty’s Fartin Teeth

      Call me old fashioned, but any flavor in beer other than beer = no. I save that for my coffee.

      • more beer

        I agree.

        • Sgt. Poopypanty’s Fartin Teeth

          Old Flat’s is my best friend nowadays. Dunno if it’s this way everywhere, but Walgreens sells them for $3 for a 6 pack, and it’s pretty good.

          • more beer

            I don`t even know what that is. But as you know I am a huge beer snob.

      • InfinityOfThoughts

        Pumpkin is really the only flavor I like. Fruit beers and the ilk are bad imo

        • Sgt. Poopypanty’s Fartin Teeth

          As long as it isn’t lite beer. “Light beer?!?! Now there’s a crime!” -Dan Stark (The Good Guys)

    • Stockhausen

      Ooh. I’d like to try that beer. My hype for pumpkin beers is pretty reserved, but I can see it going well with a scotch ale.

      • InfinityOfThoughts

        It pairs very well. Give it a try!

  • Witch-Ripped KJM

    More scenes from my Monday night.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_XQrSkVEls

    • more beer

      How were they? I`m really trying to figure out a way to swing going to see them. But I`ve got this California Death Fest trip in about 3 weeks so money is a little tight.

      • Witch-Ripped KJM

        They were excellent just like last year. Don’t worry though. There’s going to be a 2nd leg of this tour so maybe you can catch that instead.

  • Sgt. Poopypanty’s Fartin Teeth

    Good stuff so far!
    In other news, this got posted on YT today, and just came out. Good, atmospheric, kinda warm forests n’ shit black metal.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZpbJLqkkJA

  • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

    Finally got new headphones, so I can listen to stuff without it sounding like And Justice for All, and boy is this something I would listen to.