WinterOriginally released on CD by the band themselves a couple of years ago, the debut album of Winter Deluge sees new distro/label Frozen Blood Industries pick up the release for a tasty vinyl re-issue. Not knowing a huge amount about the New Zealand metal scene (apart from the extremists who have made it onto the world scene such as Diocletian or Ulcerate), this actually blindsided me with its genuine kick to the balls of a black metal musical attack (even if they do get points knocked off for having a fully legible logo – just kidding).

Frothing with ice and vitriol in equal measures, the album kicks off with ‘Winter’s March’ which brims with bile, storming incessantly. Riffs attack from all sides, machine gun drumming startling the senses and an abrasive set of lungs constantly sheds gobs of hatred upon mankind. ‘Last Hour of the Raven’ begins in a more measured manner, with an acoustic winding staircase of coldness, before twisting into another freezing attack of dexterous, spindly riffage which twists and turns like a coiled snake, striking and spraying venom at all comers. Each track has its own personality, whilst keeping firmly adherent to the frosty and evil foundations which they have built this album on. The band’s name perfectly sums their style up, an inexorable torrent of freezing snow, hail and battering storms crystalized into musical form, returning the planet to an unforgiving lifeless ice age once more. ‘The Fragments of Mankind’ is an unexpected, but welcome dramatic piano piece, which leads into the album closer ‘Celestial Renewal’, a fiery and triumphant album closer which pulls together all the facets of their sound, and pile-drives them directly into your consciousness for one final assault.

Its bands like Winter Deluge which remind me why I love extreme metal, as no matter how jaded you are with the constant stream of ‘big’ metal labels constantly churning out the same stuff, the underground never fails to deliver a steady flow of diamonds from out of nowhere. Winter Deluge may not be the finished article, but they have the guts and gall to go places – I for one will be casting an eye in their direction from now on for future releases. With plenty of cold melody, sorrow filled howling, subtle bass tones to the production and the chops to piece together interesting arrangements rather than just blasting aimlessly, this sort of black metal would sound great on vinyl – so definitely one to look into for fans of the style.

(8/10 Lars Christiansen)