Review Summary: It doesn't have to a new kind of metal to maintain interest.
Take a trip down the favorable side of modern black metal. It’s not everyday you are able to find a new age black metal album that’s either not dripping in an over-bearing attempt to stand out from the black metal crowd or an album that simply falls short of making any understandable impression on the listener. Frankly, ‘Deluge’ from Ireland’s newest orthodox black metal is an album that surpasses the usual stereotypes and presents the listener with something enjoyable, chaotic and decidedly well-presented. SLIDHR are a captivating bunch, and the music behind this ten tracked, fifty minute onslaught is an excellent demonstration on how a modern release doesn’t need to rely on gimmicky and needless soundscapes. Instead this Irish black metal act works on bringing a rather simplistic form of raw and direct black metal buts adds a whole another dimension by bringing a modern quality production to old stereotypes. In this manner, old becomes fresh – instead of remarkably boring. Revitalizing indeed.
At this point it’s fair to say that SLIDHR aren’t exactly doing anything innovative, in fact, that could be the exact point. The band knows what works and focuses on exactly that. It’s dissonant, bleak, heavy where it needs to be and even adds a little room for some ever-present melancholy. The effect is subtle, but doesn’t go unnoticed, it shapes this ten track black metal debut, provides depth and creates an effect that will keep the listener coming back for more. Further adding to the album’s play-back quality is the fact that each track is short, especially by black metal standards. With tracks that don’t exceed the six minute mark, ‘Deluge’ has a certain flow to it. A track’s presence is only a matter of minutes away and the casual listener won’t have to fight through ten minute epics in order to achieve a desired atmospheric climax.
At this point you’re probably wondering, “What makes this particular act so special?” Well it could be as simple as SLIDHR don’t do anything out of the ordinary. The band is not unique, they’re not trying to be innovative but they are working off some solid foundations. Tracks like ‘Rejoin The Dirt’ which hit hard and continue to hit hard help convey the furious yet articulated black metal display that can be found throughout the entire length of ‘Deluge’. A barrage of blast beats and crashing cymbals lift the dissonant presence of the track, snarling and deep vocals contrast the tremolo notes and give life to this despairing music. It’s tumultuous, furious and rather unrelenting. SLIDHR promotes everything that a modern day black metal band should be, even when they slow the tempo down each section displays a solid and recurring greatness. ‘Deluge’ maintains this constant level of quality throughout the entire length of their 2013 release.
Overall, this is one of the year’s more interesting black metal releases without being in the slightest over-bearing. With a ‘back to roots’ approach and an emphasis on what this band actually knows works, SLIDHR are turning heads in a saturated and over-crowded genre. ‘Deluge’ is an album that should be recommended to anybody who has a taste for bleaker and blacker metal.