Deuil - Shock/Deny (2015)

They are what we thought they were. Deuil, a four piece from Belgium, delivered unto us a two track slaughterhouse a mere two years ago. Acceptance/Rebuild was a personal record, released under the banner of a conglomerate of styles. But it never pretended to be something it wasn't. Heavy, dirty, and rough around the edges, it was one of the first albums that made the most of stylistic choices, rather than just claiming to. With a second release in hand, there was never a doubt as to what we'd find on Shock/Deny; more sludge, more doom, more drone, more blackened influences, whipped together into a frenzied attack on your senses. No nonsense, no fluff, and certainly no lipstick. And without hesitation, it's always safe to say that Deuil deliver just that.

With all that said, this album is not for the weak at heart. The battery of percussion alone would be enough to supply fodder for whiplash. Shock is a finely tuned black metal assault, rounded out deftly by a screeching voice that pierces your inner ear. What stands out is the occasional infusions of melody, however subtle and outnumbered they may be. But, as you'll hear just shy of the seven minute mark, they are a key cog in making a bigger splash per minute. Melody makes way for droning hums, which make way for blood curdling screams, which make way for thick, chunky riffs. It's a perfect example of progression in sound, one that mimics the nautilus shell; it's circular but grows outward. On the flip side of this particular coin is Deny, which embraces more of the doom and drone tenets. Slow and methodical, it's is a horror movie condensed into seven powerful minutes of screams and eerie tonal echoes. It lulls you into a false sense of security, whispering to you that the worst is over. Then the explosion comes, leaving you to jump from your seat as the tempo rises and distortion buzzes. The killer is loose, hacking and slashing his way through the bodies, only to fade away into darkness at the end. The last few minutes, left with only a hum, are chilling.

It would be fair to call Deuil one of the more expressive bands you'll encounter in the heavy genres. As they've noted on their Bandcamp page, they leave politics and socio-economic issues out of their lyrics, but that does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean they are any less impactful. At their best, they are abrasive and sickeningly heavy, bringing the ceiling down on top of you. They embrace their variety, and use every tool at their disposal to make music that is wholly personal. In that way, what you see is what you'll get, time and time again. It won't be dressed up in a fancy package, covered in glitter and sparkles, or even a banana sticker. Every release will be gloomy, soaked in a thick, viscus slime, and unabashedly presented without commentary. It worked on Acceptance/Rebuild, and it sure as hell works with Shock/Deny. And I would hope that doesn't change.


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