Devoured By The Swarm...
In the eyes of the general popstar-adoring public, death metal is (and always has been) a "weird" genre. Whether we're talking about the violent and Satanic-themed lyrics, gory album covers, or the extreme heaviness and growled vocals, it's safe to say that the non-metal-inclined population will always look at death metal as a weird genre. But every now and again a death metal album comes out that even I will consider "weird". Contaigeon's debut album, Death at the Gates of Delirium, is precisely one of these albums. Taking the basis of death metal and turning it upside-down with an unorthodox and twisted approach, Contaigeon has easily created one of the most unique and surprising death metal albums in the last decade. This album takes a while to sink in, but it's well worth it in the end. I have a huge appreciation for one-of-a-kind and adventurous acts like this, and, although Contaigeon still has room to improve on a few things, it's safe to say that this experiment was ultimately a successful one.
Describing the music here is somewhat difficult. Although it's clear that Death at the Gates of Delirium is firmly rooted in the brutal death metal scene, I sense a bit of an avant-garde approach in the vein of Obscura by Gorguts. This is mostly conveyed by lots of dissonance and harsh chord progressions. Add in some blazing fast drums and haunting vocals, and you have a truly nightmarish album. Death at the Gates of Delirium takes a few spins to sink in, but a few moments grabbed me from first listen. Songs like the "The Following Darkness" and "Slithering Sickness" immediately immersed me with their dark and chilling atmospheres, and the rest of the album became interesting soon thereafter. After a few more listens, most of Death at the Gates of Delirium had me hooked, though I'm still not completely convinced by all of the compositions. There isn't a whole lot of variation, and a few of the less memorable tracks are difficult to distinguish from each other.
One of the most interesting things about Death at the Gates of Delirium is the extremely unconventional production. It sounds somewhat muffled and raw, but not at all in a bad way. This is one of the most unique productions I have ever heard, and I have a feeling that it will remain one of the most unique productions for many years to come.
Death at the Gates of Delirium isn't a beautiful album by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a great listen for those who enjoy their death metal convoluted into a dark and creepy atmosphere. This is the type of album that you just can't listen to casually - it demands your undivided attention, and even then, understanding the entire album is difficult. Fans of twisted death metal will definitely want to check this out, especially considering the band has generously offered it for free download from their Bandcamp page. I'll go with 3.5 stars here. I give the band a lot of credit for creating something entirely new and unique, even though my own personal enjoyment is varied.