When a band comes into their own, especially after a potent freshman release, you can really feel it. Each track's resoluteness, the tension and subsequent release packaged squarely into short-story narratives. How fresh ideas are actually executed, and more importantly, whether the execution itself is fresh. Arrangement, structure, and style choices, e.g. how often to feature clean vocals, come into play here. We define it as maturity, or how powerful instruments and monumental sounds are reconciled with each other during an all-out noise brawl. Do you beat the devil out of it, or rely on the art of conjuration?

Back in 2015, Quebecois two-man band Délétère released their debut full-length Les heures de la peste. The tag "atmospheric black metal" might capture the spirit of Les heures, but in performance it meandered around a nebulous symphony of atmospherics instead of finding the sweet spots and hammering them home. Since then, Délétère has retooled and revamped. Today we premiere "III -- Horae Leprae : Cantus IV : I.N.O.P.I.A E.T. M.O.R.B.O.", the third track from their upcoming EP, Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam, due out on March 18.

"III -- Horae Leprae : Cantus IV : I.N.O.P.I.A E.T. M.O.R.B.O." stands resolutely as Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam's energy peak. Blastbeasts row back and forth behind guitarist Atheos, who modulates seamlessly between layers of discordance and harmony. There's even a non-cheesy "hoo-rah" moment at five minutes in, breaking into amped cymbal crashes and frontman Thorleïf's growled screams with a classic sense of epic urgency. This results in a thicket of atmospherics but with plenty of hooks to turn what's usually abstract into something pleasurably concrete.

Keying back on softness, e.g. clean vocals, guitar interludes, downtime, etc., certainly reinforces the hard-edged production quality and instrument tone. Yet Délétère did not delete all references to today's postmodern black metal. They're just that: references, or hints. Yet they offer a coloration not always seen when rawness knobs are cranked to max. The result is a dichotomy, an album which should destroy you, but also wreck you. Délétère may be more passionate than any number of soundalikes, without succumbing to that "way of doing things."

One special bonus with Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam: it feels like an LP, not an EP. Just as our third track here, with its overlong title, is a resolved story. A lot can happen in 25 minutes, and Délétère’s continuous high-energy speed means there's a lot of content. A stable hand is needed to manage what could evolve into a content overload, but even with hooks aplenty, this track, and album, come full circle. Again, maturity is what brings noise into check: the noise of atmospherics, imbued with a clear but complex structure, and not thrust into total abstraction.

Stream "III -- Horae Leprae : Cantus IV : I.N.O.P.I.A E.T. M.O.R.B.O." below. Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam is out via Sepulchral Productions on March 18.



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