Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Délétère - Theovorator: Babelis Testamentum (2019)



Country: Canada
Style: Black Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 18 May 2019
Sites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Metal Archives

Today's major review is the debut album from Ihlo, which is a soaring prog rock/metal opus that's very easy to listen to. I wanted a real contrast for my other review, something raucous and raw but still interesting and a brief search led me to this second EP from Canadian black metal band Délétère.

Apparently two bands started recording in Québec in 2012 under this name, but this is the first formed and the one who kept going (the other changed their name to Neurasthene). They have a couple of albums out and this is a continuation of an apparent self-induced requirement for them to only record in Latin. Their first album was in French but they clearly didn't want to do that ongoing, perhaps because it wouldn't help them stand out in Québec.

Délétère, which translates as either 'noxious' or 'vilified', depending on the context, play black metal with an interesting sound. Unlike many black metal albums, the production is clean and the most dominant aspect is the melodic line of the guitars that may be accompanied at points by keyboards too. It's never fast, even when the drums speed up. Those drums often fade into the mix, as do the vocals which vary a lot here, not merely including the usual shrieks but also some guttural chanting.

At eight and a half minutes, Theovoratis Aduentum is the longest track here but it opens the EP well. It's most memorable for its middle section, whose guttural chanting isn't delivered only by the band's vocalist, Thorleïf, but perhaps whichever coven decided to crash the recording session to summon a demon as the band played. Before and after that, it's surprisingly peaceful for such abrasive music, because it finds a hypnotic rhythm and rolls with it.

This track grows on repeat listens. The busiest band member is clearly the drummer, who I presume is Kaedes (though Thorleïf gets a credit for drums too). It's the guitarists who sell the song for me. They're Anhidar and G. and they're smooth when the band play fast but jagged when they slow down and the keyboards let them have the fore.

Babel Insanifusor (which may or may not mean anything at all but does sound pretty cool) doesn't include anything special at all but does maintain that hypnotic rhythm for the five minutes it lasts. It's as easy to be caught up in these songs as it is on such a wildly different album as the Ihlo debut I'm reviewing next.

That leaves Milities Pestilentiae III - Babylonia Magnissima (and I really hope that they can remember these titles when introducing the songs live), which stays fast but almost feels bouncy. It's certainly higher in pitch, with backing vocals reaching for the sky at points, but it's grounded and consistent.

Oddly, it feels more epic than the opening track, even though it's a couple of minutes shorter, but that's probably because Theovaratis Aduentum feels like two songs bookending a demon raising. Milities Pestilentiae III feels like one song, even if it's the third part of an ongoing a series (Milites Pestilentiae II: De Violatione Ciuitatis Febilis Dei was on their previous EP and the original opened up their demo, Sacrificium Necrothytum).

I liked this but it's not the raw black metal I expected. It's melodic and rhythmic, but with appropriately rough edges. Thorleïf certainly has plenty of those, as do the guitars when the keyboards don't hide them. And yeah, I think it makes for a good contrast with Ihlo.

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