Québécois Black Metallers Délétère have often had an air of mystique and the outrageous in their cannon, and the overriding narrative of latest album De Horae Leprae (Sepulchral Productions) is arguably more conceptual, with it being devoted to “Teredinis, a simple leper whose calling it is to become a prophet of Centipedes, as well as an incarnation of the Plague.” With such a vivid and eccentric conceptual idea behind it, its surprising to note that De Horae Leprae is a comparatively simplistic listen, albeit one with plenty of wealth.
Far from some abstract conceptual pieces which conjure and force their narrative through atmospheric passages and breaks of pace, De Horae Leprae instead focuses on pure, blistering songcraft which with each listen reveals further intricacies while also working as stand-alone songs on their own merit without requiring to be part of a greater whole.
Album opener ‘Cantus I- Teredinis Lepra’ begins with some haunting organ for a short spell before it erupts into a white frenzy of pace and torturous howls. This organ based opening is as much of an atmospheric interlude or break that the album is prepared to provide, as, otherwise it predominantly maintains a furious pace with a visceral edge, yet with a strong sense of melody which brings the likes of Dissection to mind. With this in mind, Délétère manages to make each song stand out on its own, and whilst not showcasing huge dynamic shifts, does offer differing paces throughout, whether it being the intense fury of ‘Inopia et Morbo’ or the following ‘Figura Dysphilia’ and its more mid-paced crawl.
Clocking in at around 64 minutes does make this a bit of a taxing listen, especially for an album that doesn’t offer that many shifts overall, but that’s not to say that its overloaded as there aren’t any overall weaker aspects or moments here. Despite its convoluted concept, De Horae Leprae is a surprisingly accessible (within Black Metal) effort with plenty of strong and evocative moments, which may not break any new ground, but delivers in terms of song-writing.