The album cover alone was enough to entice me to listen to this as a priority, never mind anything else. For me, it’s a cover that promises much.
So on to the music – does it deliver on these early promises?
Well, it starts off without any fanfare or pointless intros; blast beats and an absolutely thunderous sound erupt from your speakers, and it’s like being hit by a wave of churning, violent noise. It’s a very strong opening.
Deluge play fast, violent Black Metal that’s enhanced and added to by more restrained and atmospheric Post-Metal influences. Merging these together, the band create Post-Black Metal that employs the best tools from both styles. But this is a merging that, for the most part, preferentially gives free rein to one or the other of the two; switching between styles with the effortless ease of a professional.
The songs benefit greatly from this approach. The blasting venom is first-rate and the more considered atmospherics are top-of-the-line as well. Resplendent melodies combine with the vitriolic Blackened delivery to create songs that are more powerful than if they were simply one thing or the other.
The vocals are angry Hardcore-esque screamed shouts that spit the French lyrics like they’re hot and poisonous.
Apart from the strength of the songs, (which is the main thing of course), and the album cover, the other main strength of Æther is the positively immense production. Sharp, modern and colossal; this is a recording that suits the band’s delivery and character.
So, back to the original question – does Æther deliver? Yes. Very much, yes.