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Friday, September 17, 2021

Review: Delirium – Errante

Label: Karthago Records / Pure Steel Records

Date: June 25th, 2021

The first time I’ve even heard of Honduras was in the official sticker album for 1982 football world cup. Okay, I’m not that old, but my father collected the stickers and that’s where I’ve found this country I’ve never heard about, with sort of a weird name, but a cool flag with unusual colors. By the way, they were the only ones our (Yugoslav) national team managed to defeat on that same competition. Needless to say, we were both eliminated in the group stage.

Now that it’s been almost four decades since that particular world cup, and even more since the infamous “Football war”, I’m pretty sure this is my first encounter with the Honduran metal scene. Perhaps there were more bands, but I really cannot remember.

Considering the origins of Delirium, the band is even more peculiar. I’m not quite used to hearing anything out of the extreme metal’s rough patterns coming from Central or South America. At least not that often. And most certainly not this good.

Seriously, this is world-class heavy metal, produced to perfection, executed flawlessly and keeping true to the classics with a relatively fresh perspective.

But first I need to point out several bits that bother me here.

First of all, this record is ten years old this year. The reissuing is very much a good idea, since the band, for obvious reasons, didn’t stand a chance to go much further. In this regard, the two labels responsible for this deserve a serious applause. However, one song off the original release was omitted on this re-release. Whose decision was this and why the hell would you do something like that?

Second of all, the three bonus tracks sound like demo recordings (which they very well might be) and they are much less powerful and convincing than the original nine. Especially the elongated semi-acoustic “Abismo” which falls right out of place. Some classical rock ‘n’ roll gets involved as well as a subtle Central American folklore theme here and there. While all of this might seem intriguing, it just doesn’t fit to the whole idea of the album. At least not to my ears. On occasion, and here’s the prime demo part, it sounds like the guitarists just forgot to step on the distortion pedals in time. Simply weird.

But on the other hand, the nine songs comprising the regular section of “Errante” are very powerful and should satisfy all the metalheads out there. Okay, perhaps a couple of songs go on for too long, mostly over five minutes, which dilutes them a bit, but they are still very good. A simplified description of a heavy metal band doesn’t quite cover the whole thing. Delirium takes a lot from both ends of the traditional heavy metal spectrum. Hard rock and thrash metal respectively. Testament, Manowar, Angra (no idea why, but I can relate them to Brazilians), Iced Earth, Megadeth (“Navegar” introduction)… Influences are countless, but are at the same time fused together into a coherent whole, which is perhaps the biggest strength of Delirium.

The quintet is predominantly oriented towards aggression of the genre. However, they do not forget the melodic side of it. The whole album is swinging back and forth between them. That way the Hondurans achieved to further vary the record and make it much more listenable. Particularly with such a long running time. It was a necessity and Delirium delivered.

Furthermore, the songs are very catchy. I believe they fit very nicely to any type of bike meeting as well as a crowded hall filled with dedicated metal maniacs. Unfortunately, I’m not all too familiar with the language so singing along is causing me much trouble. Still, there were times when I couldn’t speak English either but found a way to sing along to Maiden or Metallica. Wrongly, of course. Such is the case here, too. I’m even more disappointed with my ignorance when I read that their lyrics are pointed at social issues of their homeland. There’s even a song titled “Honduras”. While I can suppose the problems can be globally transferred, I would still like to hear what ails these five guys to push them into such music and poetry.

Anyway, I’m extremely glad it is Delirium who got me introduced to Honduras’ metal. Surely I could’ve gotten worse. Naturally, this is not a new band, they already have two more records after “Errante”, not to mention four of them prior to it. Yet they prove once again that, like football, heavy metal is a global game. And wherever you turn the compass you can find a band that will get your head banged.

Once again, a great find for Karthago and Pure Steel Records. Their “Heavy Metal Classics” series is proving to be an absolute delight!