Musically speaking, this year just keeps on giving. I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve said ‘yeah, this is going to be a hard one to beat‘ about an album in the past ten months. I’m personally not genre-oriented or gravitated towards any given aesthetical leaning to begin with, but that said, releases that fall somewhere under post-metal and its sub-categories have been nothing short of remarkable within this otherwise shitshow of a year. It’s strange how music tends to thrive under any circumstance, and Déluge arrives to underline that exact sentiment with their new album Ægo Templo, set to release on November 6 via Metal Blade Records.
While the French sextet could be labeled as avant-garde-esque post-metal all things considered, they keep things fresh and approach that usually ambiguous topic from a different angle, uniting elements of black metal and post-hardcore with atmospheric passages, highly abrasive tones and blast beats racket with proggy, folk-ish moods, and so on. If anything, Ægo Templo is a weighty testament to the fact that there are no real boundaries with artistic creativity or compositional insights, there’s not a single waterproof reason as to why one couldn’t annex styles from the opposite ends of the spectrum, especially when the outcome is something of this nature.
What makes Ægo Templo stand out the most is its versatility and ensuing, visionary vibrancy. It branches in an almost rogue fashion to different musical territories pervasively and with ease, yet everything is tied together in a cohesive manner so that no matter how wild any given moment or idea is, nothing feels out of context or random. There is not a single moment of idling on the album, as the ten tracks are all of a tolerable length, each have their own signature movements and tones, and each sits perfectly in its place, as it should. Déluge utilizes dynamics from a narrative standpoint, and knows how to handle the listener, whether proceeding with full throttle or easing out to emotionally rich textures. Regardless of where they reside on the scope, depth and adhesiveness are always present.
“Soufre” opens the album with melancholic melodies, carefully building up tension until exploding into a full barrage about halfway through. When this part hit in the first time, I was swept off my feet, and knew that Ægo Templo would be one hell of a journey, and I wasn’t wrong. Truth be told, it’s been a longer while since only the few opening minutes of an album have been enough to convey that feeling. Actually, the last band that did that for me was Nero Di Marte with Immoto this January. I’m not one to compare bands or make half-assed conjunctions, but I’ll point out that Déluge and Nero Di Marte are the very definition of kindred spirits. Both are significant and unique acts, and can be strung together within the same sentence even though they’re different by output and appearance. But you know, great things tend to have something in common, and there is a connection between these two, even if it’s hard to point out what that link exactly is.
The singles “Opprobre” and “Digue”, alongside the titular track and “Gloire Au Silence”, all represent the best Déluge has to offer. While Ægo Templo is a flourishing piece of art from start to finish, it also has its peaks. Still, that doesn’t diminish the value of the other tracks one bit. As said, each song has their value and unparalleled position, and I guarantee that even though some tracks always pop up from the rest, none are less striking than others on this album.
I’m certain that amongst Déluge‘s listeners, the title of ‘fan favourite’ will be elusive and hard to direct to any single track. That’s due to my earlier remarks, mainly the diversity and the fact that there is simply something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for harsh black metal beatings, slow-paced doom and gloom, quiet and clean subtlety, post-hardcore that’ll tear your heart to shreds, atmospheric and airy moments, or anything falling within those frames, you’ll find them on Ægo Templo. And if you’re looking for all of those, you’re in for one damn fine ride.