Merriam Webster has long upheld that Delude is what one does in order to mislead the mind, deceive, or trick somebody. Now look it up in the dictionary of TELOS to discover that volatile energy and sick nasty riffs are part of the definition too. This Copenhagen-based quintet is making some of the meanest noise out there with their intense combination of blackened hardcore, mathcore, and metalcore. All hail the -cores!
The album opens with guitar feedback giving way to frantic tremolo picking before two hits on the china cymbal finally put the listener “Within Reach” of TELOS‘ ferocity and fury. The mathcore sections of the song will make fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan happy, while the blackened hardcore elements ensure that happiness comes at a price. Atop a searing blast beat, the frontman shrieks ‘Within reach/Living just for passing time‘ with the visceral feeling of claws piercing flesh.
In true no-rest-for-the-wicked fashion, “Bastion” comes next. It starts off in a staggering rage and with harsh vocals that recall the deathcore origins of Bring Me The Horizon. Then, midway through this descent into madness, an off-kilter breakdown conjures thoughts of bands like Code Orange and SVFFER. It’s as if someone spilled a decanter of sludge, and that someone is going to Hell for it.
Perhaps there are a few tricks up TELOS‘ sleeve. “Never Me” busts in true to form with hammering drums, blood-curdling screams, and a riff that has a swingy shuffling sense about it. The track takes a surprising turn when the cacophony subsides for some desperate guitars chords in the key of blackgaze. This section builds the tension up with marching snare drum and vintage screamo vocals. The eruption that follows is a very satisfying catharsis.
The album gets even more adventurous from here. “I Accept / I Receive”, the longest on the tracklist, works a bit like two sides of the same coin. The former features a slightly slower tempo and a gnarly riff akin to some of the dirtiest in Deftones‘ catalog. It’s a measured maneuver into madness that builds up into a crushing wall of sound comparable to much of Daughters‘ 2010 self-titled album.
A menacing scream rips the song into its more meditative latter half. The change of pace here is quite welcome and even a highlight while listening through the album front-to-back. This moment of respite is short-lived, as a horrifically beautiful tidal wave of sludge crashes against the once calm coast. The aftermath only get darker and darker as the song reaches its bleak finale.
The next two songs, “I’ve Been Gone For So Long” and “Lapse”, are more meat-and-potatoes TELOS songs. The former opens with these dissonant sliding riffs that immediately bring Daughters‘ Hell Songs to mind. Brutal and groovy isn’t an easy dish, but the drums work in a helping of groove between the more spitfire sections on the track. “Lapse” takes this up a notch sporting a, dare I say, danceable opening riff. It’s contagious. Then there’s that chugga chugga breakdown that sounds like a Korn riff on steroids and Red Bull.
With “As Atlas Stumbled” the album gives the impression that it’s beginning to wind-down. Pretty guitar chords that harken back to the bridge section on “Never Me” lull the listener into a dreamstate. It feels like the storm has passed, then a riff from Hell burns through the clouds and devours the ashes. ‘Shadows dancing in the distance/Every second further away‘ and TELOS with handfuls of charred earth.
The nastiness seeps into “Throne”. Absolutely primal drums and schizophrenic guitars ignite the fuse. The drums continues to be highlight as they take on different beats to accompany the bouncy main riff. Later on, the track merges the melodic parts with the savagery. It culminates into a rewarding release during the outro. Heavy, but with slab of emotional stakes on the table.
Eight songs, at barely over a half hour, Delude is a concentrated pummeling. It’s fairly unrelenting, a raw form of hostility, and packed with nasty riffs. Whether you call it mathcore, metalcore, or blackgaze; there’s a natural seamlessness to TELOS‘ sound on this record, and it’s difficult not to be awestruck at the sheer fury of this music. Take it to the gym, blast it on a sleepy late night drive to stay alert, or just listen to it quietly sitting in a cafe calmly doing a sudoku like a total fucking psycho.