Deitus – Irreversible


English black metal unit, Deitus, are the type of band Terrorizer magazine would have liked. Unfortunately, they released their debut album in the year of the magazine’s demise (2016), but their 2018 sophomore LP received warm praise from the metal underground. Indeed, their last record caught the attention of Candlelight Records and persuaded the London-based label to sign them for album number three. Is this the moment when Deitus rise up like a noxious gas from the peat bogs of Yorkshire to leave their mark on the contemporary black metal scene?

Though now based in London, the founder members of Deitus hail from York, and you can hear the northern county’s famous death-doom posturing in the opening instrumental, ‘Incursion’. Thick guitar distortion slopes through your speakers like an invisible virus with nefarious designs. Listen how two axemen release their slimy chord progressions with subtle differences in tone and texture. The drums seem hesitant to commit to a regular rhythm for the first two minutes, often remaining on the edge of the beat. Slayer’s legendary intro to ‘Hell Awaits’ plants itself in your brain when the guitars and drums shift into a higher gear.

It’s a captivating way to start an album and an effective springboard for them to launch into the melodic black metal fury of Dissection on ‘Straight for Your Throat’. See if you can remove the phantom hands from your oesophagus as the band rip through a turbulence of rapid blast beats and layered guitars. This one evolves into a simple two-beat drum pattern with molten chord progressions before taking in the early adrenaline thrash of Megadeth (the heroin era) as its main thrust. Make no mistake: the harmonic minor solo here is one of the most fascinating leads you’ll hear all year.

The vocals maintain a fierce rasp on ‘A Scar for Serenity’ and ‘Irreversible’, with the former harking back to 1985 for its sustenance. You’ll feel like a knight on horseback with a sabre at the ready until the band wind down in the shadow of a doom metal surrender. No discordant guitar shapes scratch through the fog of war here. Deitus are too enthralled by the thrill of traditional metal to overlook the occasional flash of melody. Their tremolo guitar patterns stride like invincible warriors, blind to a grisly fate on the battlefield. Like the best black metal, it helps you unshackle the chains of oppression, and it rouses you from a state of dormancy. The effect would be even more imperious with a deeper shade of originality in the music.

Only on the excellent ‘Voyeur’ do we hear something close to a radical departure from the norm, thanks to a guest appearance from Toni Coe-Brooker on the microphone. As a prominent industry insider rather than a renowned musician, her performance makes you wonder why she prefers the business side of heavy music to the artistic side. The sultry breathing and anguish-filled voice contemplations ring like echoes of a dead era that can never return. Here, the band encroach on Paradise Lost territory but make it their own. Fifth chords co-exist with glowing high-register sequences that weigh down on your neck like the curse of a vengeful demon spirit. It makes the gradual transition from mid-tempo thrash to high-velocity black metal on closing track, ‘As Long as They Fear’, a harder pill to swallow after such a surprise change of direction.

Deitus do enough here to join Necronautical, Winterfylleth and Wode at the forefront of the English scene. Their intricate piecing together of the best components from thrash, doom and black metal are hard to resist, even if their flavouring has a familiar taste.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 14/07/2023

Record Label: Candlelight Records

Standout tracks: Straight for Your Throat, A Scar for Serenity, Voyeur

Suggested Further Listening: Artach – Sworn to Avenge (2021), Estertor – Tales from the Ancient Grave (2021), Goatwhore – Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven (2022)