It’s so interesting how we can find beauty in metallic ugliness. Metal is a genre that prides itself on being dirty and underground. Some people believe the point is to be inaccessible. We have to keep out those normies, after all. We can’t have them coming in here and trying to make us bland! But despite that rejection of traditional artistic and musical values, there are still moments songwriting beauty in metal. It could seem like the densest and most arcane of sounds, but there could still be that one part that can totally lift you up or break your heart. With that in mind, we should discuss Maestus and their latest creation, Deliquesce.
Maestus is a five-piece blackened funeral doom group from Oregon. It’s difficult to encapsulate everything their sound contains, but that’s the best way to describe it. They’ve been creating this depressive and emotional version of doom since 2013 and have developed a pretty original songwriting take. There are great swells and builds to their songs, often plodding along to their emotional rise via black metal-style tremolo picking riffs, guttural shouts and distorted shrieks, and keyboard backgrounds that paint a picture of all things doom and gloom.
Maestus really have learned how to take up space with their songs. A lot of what their songs require is room to grow. It reflects the fact that their tracks take time to develop. They equally need to develop a soundscape to build off of. The keyboards and pianos help develop that atmosphere. Keyboards are such an underutilized addition to any band, but Maestus appear to know the value of its inclusion. It’s not as though the group couldn’t do what they do without the addition, but it would be a lot more difficult to build up to the crescendos they want without it.
Any track on this record is a great example of this songwriting approach, but the title track is absolutely perfect. The keyboard and piano intro is a perfect way to develop a song. It adds some introductory drama and development that’s difficult to do any other way. Without the keyboards, you could do something like an acoustic guitar intro. But those don’t carry the same weight. Nor could the build-up to the wall of sound explosion from the rest of the band after that introductory 2 minutes. Once the band kicks in, you’ll be glad for the keyboard build up. Droning riffs of pure melancholy assault your ears along with shouted lyrics and crashing cymbals. The key to it all is the building and release of drama in waves. It’s what this sound is about.
This record is a slog in the best way possible. The emotional crescendos and releases are particularly funeral doom-y, but the blackened atmosphere allows for this feeling to seem natural. Nothing on this record is forced at all. It’s all just right. The denouements of each song are supported and built on mature songwriting and talented musicians. This is a great record for funeral doom fans and anyone needing a record of real substance. Be ready to sit awhile and really chew on this one. Take the time to digest Maestus. You’ll be glad you did.