Quebecois destroyers Délétère unleash emotionally charging plague tale on ‘De Horae Leprae’

As the resident germaphobe here at Meat Mead Metal, records about pestilence aren’t exactly the thing that makes me feel comfortable inside. But I guess that’s sort of the point. You’re not expected to feel safe and sound when disease is afoot, and being blistered with black metal while you’re dwelling on that topic only makes it more unsettling.

Another excellent entry from the Quebecois metal scene, Délétère return with their second record “De Horae Leprae,” a nine-track, 65-minute opus that focuses on a character named Teredinis, a leper who is bound to become a prophet and incarnation of the plague. That’s unsettling subject matter, though if you don’t speak their native tongue, you’re not likely to absorb much of the plot anyway. Musically, what they do here is huge, dramatic, incredibly melodic, and positively riff driven, as the music storms around you with no quit and varying frequencies of precipitation. The duo behind this band—vocalist/drummer/keyboard player Thorleif and guitarist/bassist Atheos—creates a punishing document that also bleeds with emotion and, even if you’re not able to catch up with the story, you’ll be overwhelmed by the snowstorm force of the music that, while it doesn’t have a ton of variation, makes up for that with sheer force and quaking energy. It’s one hell of a mammoth listen.

“Cantus I – Teredinis Lepra” starts the record with organs unloading before a storming assault takes place. Tons of melody are spilled into the picture, as it feels like an ice storm is building and heading dangerously toward you. The pace stomps and gallops, as riffs well up, and the first chapter ends in a blaze of glory. “Cantus II – Sagina Caedendis” has a dark, ominous beginning, complete with crazed wails, and the song being blow apart. Dramatic, creaked growls meet the delirious pace, while the playing sets inextinguishable blazes, the drums punish, and we come to a crash landing. “Cantus III – Ichthus Os Tremoris” unleashes a melodic burst, while the song gets secretly catchy, and the riffs bleed in to add extra colors. The music floods your heart with emotions, while the back-end torches comfort and goes out in a flash. “Cantus IV  – Inopia et Morbo” again brings a huge helping of melodic playing, while devastation is near, and the growls and manic shrieks blend together. Hearty wordless calls bellow, while the guitars ignite anew, the vocals quiver and screech, and it all ends in a gigantic eruption. “Cantus V – Figura Dysphila” rumbles while the vocals churn, and as the drums accelerate the tempo, keyboards glaze the surface with dew. A folk-heavy section acts as a backbone for a stretch, while wild yelps paint a picture of horror and sickness.

“Cantus VI – Barathra I” starts with nauseous keyboards, as the growls begin to thrash, and more folk-flavored melodies are worked into the machine. From there the song gets bloody and war torn, with a fire-breathing finish charring your flesh. “Cantus VII – Barathra II” has guitars building and keys welling up to the surface. The pace stomps heavily, with the vocals bringing more anguish before things come to a section of serenity. Wordless chants haunt the senses before the track comes to life again, grabbing at your throat with mangling melodies that trigger delirium, and the finish disappears into the fog. “Cantus VIII – Atrum Lilium” blasts back again, with strangeness flowing and infecting the waters, while things gets catchy and light up your senses. Another helping of blood-curdling growls tear forth, while rousing melody envelopes chaos, and both disappear into the void. Closer “Cantus IX – Oratio Magna” returns to the spooky organs that started the record, and then things toughen from there and become ghostly. The vocals again teeter on unhinged, while the song gets even weirder, and in the best possible way, finally dissolving into static, horrific keys, and a pit of somberness.

While I tangle with the great terror of a worldwide pandemic, I gain some solace in that Délétère’s awesome second record “De Horae Leprae” is but a fictional tale, albeit a splattering one. This band continues to deliver top-notch, destructive black metal that not only does good by their rich home’s run of powerful, like-minded creators, but also for the sub-genre as a whole. This is scary, riveting stuff, and it will dig its way into your bones and psyche if you’re not careful.

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