“Black metal/hardcore” is a good way to roll some eyes. It’s become somewhat meaningless. The likes of Celeste, The Secret, and Hexis are prime examples of hardcore bands in recent years that have tinkered with black metal influences so effectively. Beyond that, bands can get a little so and so. France’s Deluge occupy a similar sort of vein but a little sludgier with Cult of Luna-esque atmosphere to complement the rapid pace.
The formula of Aether is pretty simple overall and will be familiar to most. ‘Avalanche’, the opener, is an apt song title as a hail of juddering blastbeats coming thundering in with deep throaty vocals reminiscent of Fall of Efrafa before delving into an ambient mid-section. The record deals with peaks and valleys a lot so it can be a little predictable but the raw conviction is palpable and the riffs memorable.
Perhaps the biggest complaint to be levelled against Deluge is the band’s over reliance on blasts to create intensity sometimes to the detriment of the guitar work but there are plenty of instances where they get the balance just right, such as ‘Appât’ or the expansive and partly doom-flavoured instrumental ‘Klarträumer’ with its smattering of keyboards in between. But it’s the closing one-two of ‘Hypoxie’ and ‘Bruine’ that captures the essence of Aether though, with both tracks simmering with much more seething riffs and atmosphere.