DEUIL – New EP, ‘Shock/Deny’ Reviewed.

Two years ago the Belgium-based black /doom metal four-piece Deuil, whose name means “mourning”, launched their debut album ‘Acceptance/Rebuild’. They are back with the follow up ‘Shock/Deny’, again a two track offering spanning thirty minutes of black metal that encompasses elements of doom, sludge and drone, blended together and soaked in anguish and hopelessness. Their intention, and I think they meet this remit well, is to express the first two stages of the grieving process after losing someone close to you; shock and denial.

It’s an unsettling listen. At times crushingly oppressive, but at the same time, quite hypnotically engaging. Beginning with the first track, ‘Shock’ opening on a drone build that expands out into a haunting doom-rich, aural landscape, before switching to one of a more bleak, oppressive and blackened feel, which emanates from the riffing, with distressed, blackened screams permeating through, and pummelling drum work intensifying the effect of the guitars. Midway, the pace drops again, eventually expanding out to a reflective, doom-rich tempo, overlaid with more drone elements and vocal screams of desperation, the final minute is drone fading into unsettling quiet .

‘Deny’ emerges out of the quiet of its predecessor, beginning with a heady mix of drone and distortion. A few minutes in, and bleak riffs build over the top, developing into an addictive repeat riff pattern with oppressively pummelling drum blasts and cymbal crashes adding to the bleak mood, the vocals continuing in the same distressed form, but this time with an angrier edge to their delivery. Intense, distorted riffs start to tear through, with bleak drumbeats. This aspect is very expressive and unsettling. Midway, the pace quickens, and the drums and riffs become more intense and oppressive, all the while the vocals continuing as tortuous screams. When the tempo changes to drone and pulsating riffs, you feel a sense of relief, as if a weight is lifted, the vocals switching to a spoken female voice, that is almost consoling, but the screams do continue faintly, far in the background, before one final intense onslaught of blackened riffing and tortured screams , fading out again to drone, distortion and a ghostly reversed voice.

A bleak, yet enjoyable listen. The tracks are so powerfully dark and oppressive, it feels longer than half an hour, Deuil have pitched the duration of this release perfectly. It also has a very cathartic effect on you, and you feel a sense of release at the end.

‘Shock/Deny’ is out on Consouling Sounds and also available to listen/buy from:

 Review: Jools Green


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