Review: Delirium “Zzooouhh” [Prophecy]

Review: Delirium “Zzooouhh” [Prophecy]

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Score 75%
The Dutch and their weed
75 %
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How many Celtic Frost-inspired doom/death metal bands does one need in their life? While this would clearly depend on your love for Celtic Frost and doom/death metal, I’m actually amazed by the different results that we’ve got from all these bands to begin with and hence I’m convinced that this style will never get old. Sure, the sounds of Divine Eve, Cianide, Winter and Delirium, as well as many others could be traced all the way back to To Mega Therion to a certain degree, yet plenty of these had their own take on this kind of style.

Zzooouhh may be one wacko title, but it’s a decent mish-mash of grooves, inhuman vocals and smashing guitar work that’s responsible for the band’s sense of dynamics. Indeed, this couldn’t sound further from your slow-motion collapse that Winter expressed, as Delirium are more of an instant band that move into captivating death metal territory as much as they evoke cryptic doom metal, yet they don’t do so in the way that Cianide circa ’92-’94 did either. Zzooouhh works for me because the execution sounds fresh and inspiring enough – that coarse guitar tone is partially responsible for my joy, but the surprising riffs are responsible for the variation and fluent tempo changes of these songs and frankly, you’re never exactly sure what to expect. Of course, it never takes long before an obvious nod to Celtic Frost makes it between the faster and pure doom passages, yet despite the band’s dear love for this band, calling Zzooouhh plain Celtic Frost worship would be too unrealistic. Just hear how “The Sign of Urth” combines those hardcore punk-inspired riffs, some grinding death metal fury and some faithful Celtic Frost-esque rhythms with good measurements – if we’d be dealing with actual Celtic Frost worship, then any other influences wouldn’t have been this notable, right?

Regardless of its quality and the many ideas that it possesses, Zzooouhh is something that I have to be in the mood for though, as I tend to forget about the record’s details once I haven’t heard it in a while. I also can’t help but notice that it doesn’t make a fantastic start, as the first few tracks display a variety of moods and musical ideas with rather mediocre results. Delirium refrain from dragging on, but once they speed up, they don’t always deliver; as the six minute long songs like “The Warrior” and “Amputation” lack those addictive and top-class riffs to justify their lengths. Sure, the band absolutely tries to build up and release tension here, but the faster riffs appear as if they were used for variation’s sake more than anything else; clearly lacking some fire when compared to the far superior tremolos that are present elsewhere. It’s a shame because the mid-paced ones actually do work a lot better; especially that catchy verse riff before the first minute mark of “The Warrior” and the frightening crawling of “Amputation” promise a lot. “Bitch” isn’t much fun to begin with either, but I guess that’s to be expected with a title like that and while you can easily detect the Celtic Frost and Death influences in this track, the result is something surprisingly tame. Say what you want about Tom Warrior and Chuck Schuldiner before they had decided to become artsy and whatnot, but their earlier stuff remains raw works of extreme metal with plenty of appealing factors and you can’t say that about this track itself now, can you? I suppose that taking influences from the right kind of bands doesn’t always pay off after all, but it’s a bit of a bummer.

Over time I’ve also noticed that my preference leans towards side B of the album, as “Flood of Intricate” sounds rather refreshing compared to the earlier tracks that aren’t too compelling to begin with. It introduces the most horror-esque doom metal riffs that harken back to early Cathedral, before gradually picking up with some Celtic Frost-esque rhythm work; “Visions of Immortality” and “Return to the Eve” to be specific – but of course, taking inspiration of two heavy-as-hell bands is always a good idea. “Menace Unseen” is another banger that doesn’t reveal its main theme right away, but gets a lot closer to the death metal territory once the vocalist pulls off a wicked Chuck Schuldiner-esque shriek and those fiery tremolos appear and I’m also fond of that unexpected break when even the guitars start to wail like banshees. Saving the most surprising track for the last, “Beyond the Gates of the Afterdead” is a nine minute track that consists of a variety of unique sub-chapters, yet I’d argue that it mainly consists of two divided sections. During the first few minutes, a constant shift of moods drive the song onward; ranging from the crawling opening to that Celtic Frost-flavored bursting verse with one of the most infectious riffs on the record to the rabid thrashing that appears shortly after. Second of all, the track takes a far more grandiose turn by the time those driving drums lead toward that steamrolling death metal section and eventually to that creepy outro. I find it quite strange how this nine minute long track works just fine considering that the two six minute tracks don’t… but one out of three is better than nothing, wouldn’t you say so?

Delirium’s Zzooouhh isn’t a favorite of mine in the doom/death metal field, but it does serve my needs rather well once I yearn for more Celtic Frost-inspired doom/death metal. It’s pretty neat stuff… just don’t think too much about the album title’s meaning; it probably makes more sense once you’re high.

Release date: 1990

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