Délétère- “De Ritibus Morbiferis” & “Les Heures de la Peste”

Regular readers know that Black Metal & Brews has a strong fondness for francophone black metal acts, whether from France itself or the burgeoning scene up in Québec. When word came my way that Québécois act Délétère would be releasing a debut LP alongside a compilation of demo material, my excitement was probably unhealthy. Still, as an enthusiastic fan of the greater black metal community in Québec, even this seemingly smaller act is worthy in my eyes. While Délétère hasn’t got the following of greats like Monarque or Ephemer (despite featuring a member of the former), the tandem releases of De Ritibus Morbiferis – Demo Compendium and the new full-length Les Heures de la Peste will surely escalate this act’s presence to a much deserved level. With Sepulchral Productions releasing both CDs on April 7th as a special bundle (or individual purchases if you really want to miss out on half of the brilliance for some reason), there’s no better time than now to start salivating.

Délétère - De Ritibus Morbiferus

First, let’s start by taking on De Ritibus Morbiferis, which contains both of Délétère’s cassette demos, Inopia Et Morbo and Sacrificium Necrothytum. Each of these tapes were in my periphery before, but I’ll admit I had primarily heard this act’s music by seeking out songs on YouTube. Hearing these two demos back to back in chronological order is a fantastic display of the early perversions of black metal from Délétère, clearly a ferocious talent from the very beginning, albeit one that was a little less finished sounding than their modern work.

The production values are on the sparse side, allowing for raw guitars and fuzzy synths to set a solid atmosphere over which vocalist Thorleif offers otherworldly incantations in both French and Latin. There’s something mesmerizing and almost taunting to the sound on these demos, as if the band has the listener held captive and is slowly preparing instruments of torture. The latter half of the album is a slightly more aggressive set of songs, yet tracks like “Sales Vestales” still hold enough melody and addictive riffs to balance out the urgency. This release alone would easily be enough to entice diehard black metal enthusiasts, but fotunately Délétère has even more to offer.

Délétère- "Les Heures de la Peste"

With Les Heures de la Peste, we see Délétère stepping into crisper production and a more focused, honed sound. The demos were already potent enough, but these songs don’t sound like a band on its first serious release. There’s a confidence and professionalism that enhances the elements proven to be Délétère’s strengths on the prior demos but the rawness is still intact. From the initial kick of album opener “Matines – Portepeste” onward, the band pushes their murky black metal at a pretty consistent pace, with slightly more human vocals than on the demos and walls of synths that lurk just behind the veil of guitar distortion. The crash of cymbals is frequent, only adding to the buzzing ferocity of the music, yet every note and instrument is easily discerned. This, to me, is what great production should be for rawer forms of black metal: every detail is illuminated, but the light is not necessarily bright. Highlights include the plodding, chanted eerie closing of “Sexte – Une charogne couronnée de fumier” and the furious yet majestic “Vêpres – Architectes de la Peste.” While many great albums have entered my life lately, Les Heures de la Peste is one that I cannot stop listening to, and with good reason. From pulsing leads to horrifically filthy walls of sound, Délétère has created an album diverse enough to be worthy of its fifty minute run-time and fully developed enough to elevate this act within the extreme metal underground.