Deleterious - Highly Recommended
Self Release
Avant-garde Black/Death metal
5 songs (21:23)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Charles
This EP arrived at the palatial offices of after we were contacted by one of their guitarists. The reason I leapt on it personally is because the drummer here is Richard Japenga from Terzij de Horde, whose A Rage of Rapture… has been one of 2010’s pleasant surprises. Highly Recommended isn’t closely comparable in terms of its sound, but I have a suspicion that those that enjoyed Terzij de Horde’s open-minded and fusion-inclined take on black metal will also find much to admire here.

For much of this EPs running time the base of Deleterious's sound is a focused and technical mix of black and death metal. It won’t be vitriolic enough for some, but for others it will more than make up for this with its precise control, unpredictable time shifts and complex riffing. Fast and agile blasting is the band’s staple, certainly, but this does not come close to encapsulating the EP in totality. In spirit and attitude, I think this has less in common with Teratism or Temple of Baal than it does with a diverse range of more experimentally-minded metal bands ranging from Sikth to latter-day DHG, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the band are also big admirers of Mr Bungle, as well. Highly Recommended brims with ideas for entertaining diversions; from curious frissons of jazz noodling, dissonant bass-led noise jamming, to chugging drive-time rock. The biggest oddity by far are the occasional bouts of woodwind soloing, which don’t so much give it the feel of blackened sax-abusers Lugubrum (it’s not nearly inaccessible enough), as that of an artist gleefully drawing a scraggly line of bright green paint over a black and white pencil drawing.

The important thing to note, however, is that we mustn’t overstate the eclecticism of this; admittedly something that’s easily done when you are confronted with a clarinet break like the one in Requiem in Blue. What, when described in a review, perhaps gives the impression of something really anarchic, is in fact tightly controlled and coherent. Even when we remain within well-charted black and death territory, Deleterious’s sound is complex and ever-changing. Like Castevet’s Mounds of Ash, Highly Recommended skips fluently between complicated riffs and ideas. And in its sheer hyperactivity it also reminds me of technically inclined death metal bands like Atheist. As on that band's Jupiter, the genre-blurring moments are less statements of avant-garde pretension or post-modern mania, and more a case of a restless sound continually trying to find new ideas to incorporate. As such the potentially gaudy impact of its more surprising moments are moderated and become part of an integrated whole.

If there’s a downside, it’s that Deleterious would benefit from a slightly more powerful sound. But this is pretty impressive, all told, considering it is an EP by a band with no albums under their belt yet. Worthy of close observation in future.

Killing Songs :
Brick Freezing Lunacy, Introspectacle
Charles quoted no quote
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