It’s all in the title, this is slow stuff and album number 5 from Belgium bred but Bulgarian based Déhà who is aided here lyrically and conceptually by Lore. Digging deeper there is a bit more meaning into the name rather than just plonking Slow down as a descriptor and the letters stand for Silence Lives Out/Over Whirlpool, kind of clever that and be cautious when going in as although this is certainly not fast you may well be caught out, sucked in by the vortex and dragged under and into the depths. We have 5 lengthy numbers here each over the 10 minute mark and yep essentially this is watery and cold funeral doom that is designed to pretty much freeze you to the bones. Damn its cold outside anyway so what better way is there to listen, wrapped in a blanket and hope you can keep the chill out.
Keyboard sound breathes things into life on opener ‘Aurore’ and guitars glisten in, atmosphere does not so much as build as suddenly fly in as guitars, drums and weathered craggy vocals all drop into the mix. Sure this may not be fast but it certainly makes up for that with gravity and even the sense of violence behind the music. Things do settle, you can get used to this and grab hold and coast along quite easily. There are some gorgeous textures and a quite dreamy flow as Déhà makes the melody sing beneath it all, his craggy voice adding a sense of gruff beastliness. Instrumental sections are plentiful and one here has guitar sparkling a bit like a sunbeam that blinds in the midst of a freezing day and some deep bass tones. There’s a massive sense of depth and maturity here and you are quickly transfixed and engrossed as Ténèbres brings the shadow of darkness via piano work and spoken voice. This sounds not a million miles from Carl McCoy of Fields Of The Nephiilm and the atmosphere of the band is very much at play here too with the ethereal and gothic undercurrents and monolithic elongated arrangement. Like an apocalyptic and biblical flood the Déluge is coming, be warned as the epic 13 minute monster of a number is carried aloft by choral backing vocals and a sense of all-encompassing darkness blocking out the sky. This is huge and magnanimous in scope, all the more impressive as constructed by just one person and over the length of the track it gets all the more powerful rising into a massive crescendo, wow!
A deep breath is needed, has anyone survived the tumult? Is the chilled piano and thick bass tones the sound of survivors gradually emerging from their hiding places? Maybe not, the track title ‘Néant’ means nothingness and that could be all that is left. The tempered roar certainly could be someone reacting to the devastation facing them though. Hopefully my inner narrative is not ruining whatever good ideas Lore really has behind all this. The closing piece ‘Mort’ is all about death, death of the land and those that inhabited it as far as I am again assuming. It’s an absolutely fantastic track due partly to the excellent waves of keyboard melody ebbing and flowing through it, the choppy riff work and those utterly fearsome vocal roars.
This is fantastic stuff for those who love cold sounds and epic funeral doom. I had heard various good things about the album before nabbing it to review and it certainly has lived up to all the praise it was getting. Winter is not done with us yet and if you get this it is likely to extend its stay to the very death.
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)