Label: Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions
Æther is the debut album from the French band Deluge. Along with the name of the band, they seem to have a water theme going on with their music as well. The entire album pretty much has the sound of rainfall in the background. Sometimes you can’t hear it as well, but when the music slows down or they have a more ambient moment, the rain is there. Another band that did this exact same thing, this year even, is Lluvia, that amazing black metal band that I reviewed just a few weeks ago? Yeah, seems like the theme of the rain in endless fall is pretty popular.
Just like that Lluvia album, the never-ending rain makes the tone of the album decidedly dour. Couple this with the fact that Æther is a pretty decent length, you have a recipe for an album that will still your mind. The interesting thing about Deluge is they actually use quite a bit of piano during their quiet sections, this slow, plodding piano. It isn’t trying to create a melody or anything like that, it is simply providing a sound to accompany the rain. For example, the lengthiest track, the just-under-ten-minutes Klartraumer, spends almost half of its length on rain, piano, and slow guitar notes. Of course, this is meant to lull you into a sense of ease, until finally, the drums and heavier guitar come crashing in. But, as I said before, the rain and the piano never leave. This isn’t a sudden jump from an ambient section to a heavy section; this is them turning their ambient section into the song. I really appreciate this, because it means that they aren’t just thoughtlessly tossing in ambient sections only to allow them to completely fall apart once they want to get back to the crushing riffs. Even when the piano finally disappears on Klartraumer, swallowed by guitars too loud and fast, you still can feel it floating in the background, waiting to make its presence known again.
It would be very difficult to find another band to namedrop that would help you figure out what Deluge sounds like. I mentioned Lluvia above, but the two sound nothing alike. I almost want to relate this band to the post-metal bands of the early 2000s, like Isis and Cult of Luna, but I don’t think that’s quite right. I also want to toss in fellow Frenchmen Celeste, because I feel like their vocal approaches are similar, as well as the tone of their guitar. But of course, Celeste lacks the quiet piano sections and I would say is more aggressive. No, Deluge definitely has a sound that is their own (unless my knowledge is failing me here). Deluge combines heavy, mid-paced drums and clean guitar notes with really fast double-kick-backed walls of strummed electric guitar (although not the standard black metal tremolo), and of course all of this sometimes drops away to simple have a few sparse guitar notes or some slow piano paired with the rain.
Regardless of how I attempt to describe their sound, Deluge has definitely done something interesting on their debut. My only criticism of this album, and it is a half-hearted one, is that the ambient sections can run a little long, occasionally making me think “damn, where’d the metal go?” But then of course it comes crashing back in, so it’s sort of a fake compliant. I really hope Deluge keep at it, because they have a really good sound.
Check ’em out here: https://wearedeluge.bandcamp.com/album/ther