Deemtee – Strange Aeons & Deliriums


Madrid musician, Óscar Martín (aka Nightmarer), is a familiar name in the Spanish underground as the multi-instrumentalist in symphonic death metal group, Garth Arum, and vocalist and guitarist in As Light Dies. Drawing on his passion for the more avant-garde forms of black metal, Strange Aeons & Deliriums is his second album under the Deemtee moniker. At twenty-six minutes, it’s also his shortest work to date, but that does not diminish its impact. Clearly, Nightmarer enjoyed expanding the range of his voice and developing it in new ways for this record.

The multi-harmony voice arrangements and distorted guitar slashes frame a shaking picture of pretend calm ‘In Colorful Seas’, but this is just an introduction to the first real song of the LP. ‘Forbidden Fumes’ allows you to make your initial judgment on the musical ambition of this album. Here, mystical folk guitar strumming convinces you that a 4/4 drumbeat will follow as a cat follows a mouse. Instead, a syncopated bass and unorthodox snare accent lay the foundations for the vocalist to contemplate the words like a circus performer singing at the mirror. Listen to the stretch of the fretless bass underneath this ritual – the notes vibrate like copulating seals. A lead guitar appears at 01:48 like a spotlight in a prison yard before the rhythms shift gear towards a more aggressive interplay of guitar and drums. You’d expect the vocals to writhe in exaggerated demonic anger, but Nightmarer prefers to keep them as the key melodic ingredient. Only when the blast beats emerge like a juddering shuttle engine at 05:00 do you feel like you’ve stumbled into an Arcturus rehearsal studio.

As ugly as it is, you can still imagine yourself floating in space to ‘Strange Aeons’. A disembowelled groan at the beginning gives the prog metal rhythms an agonising texture. Nightmarer doesn’t do riffs – the guitars are more of a weapon to scare you. Unlike the predecessor song, this one stays in a gory register for the entirety of the action until a serene flute bursts out of the speakers at 03:11 and lays waste to the dark forebodings of guitar. Now you can imagine a sentimental affection for the dying creatures of your childhood stories. Likewise, the dissonant guitars and growling vocals of ‘Color Out of Space’ trap you in their forceful momentum. Dødheimsgard come to mind in this effort. Nightmarer seems to be fretting chords on the upstroke. The noise is rough but under control. A vicious turn of the drums at 02:00 turns the mood of the song into a journey to the bottom of the ocean.

Melody is important to Deemtee’s musical expression. Nightmarer wants plenty of it – enough to open up vistas of watered green lands and singing cuckoos in the fading glow of an evening sun. The melancholy guitar arpeggios creep up on you like an unwanted depression in ‘Last Day’, yet you can relate to them and find comfort in their sorrowful resonance. The chords sparkle like a placid waterfall. Listen to the glow of the flute in the background – you can imagine Between the Buried and Me composing something like this as a transition piece for a future album. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the clear nod to David Bowie’s distinct vocal tone on ‘This Delirium’. Here, guitars wail and wither underneath the clashing of discordant notes as Nightmarer weaves his bass guitar scales through this paradox like a master craftsman. How is it possible to go from Suede’s Brett Anderson to Darkthrone in the same song? Opeth fans will add this to their Spotify playlist after thirty seconds.

Nightmarer released Deemtee with little fanfare, but maybe he should give this project a bigger push. The luscious folk guitar picking and omniscient vocal harmonies of closing track, ‘In the Dreamlands They Fall’ conjure images of bountiful rivers and green plant life for the animal kingdom to enjoy away from human life. Yet behind this utopia is a world of predatory creatures and unknown dangers. In this distant eco-system lies Nightmarer, waiting to enfold you in a world of thrilling uncertainty. An extra fifteen minutes of this would be even more enjoyable for the listener.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 07/12/2023

Record Label: Darkwoods

Standout tracks: Forbidden Fumes, Last Day, This Delirium

Suggested Further Listening: Dawnwalker – Ages (2020), Animal Collective – Danse Manatee (2001), Phallosopher – (I) (2021)