Finns Diablerie certainly know how to mix things up; Their second full-length album The Catalyst… is a testament to open mindedness in the musical workplace, and the result of this openness to any and all ideas makes this album one of 2017’s most consistently refreshing and interesting releases to date.

Opening track Hexordium: The Final Realisation That You Don’t Matter is just an intro piece, but even this track, all two and a half minutes of it is busting with ideas and challenges to the listener – more, in fact, than many bands manage in entire albums… Suffice to say it’s a misanthropic amuse-bouche of dynamic intention and it kicks this intriguing album off with just the sort of multi-faceted bang you’ll come to expect from the band once you’ve had time to absorb the whole thing a few times.

An easy way to describe that opening track to non-combatants might be Devin Townsend does black metal, and if that doesn’t sound too trite then I’ll stick to it. Townsend actually pops his figurative head in to say hello elsewhere, too – there’s a beautiful break in the sturm und drang on the excellent Rabid Dogs (of Church and State) that is pure Hevy Devy, and though Diablerie are relentlessly heavier than Townsend would ever want to be, there’s a definite link between the two artists. Like Townsend, Diablerie’s guiding light Henri Villberg is absolutely not afraid to chuck the kitchen sink at a track if he thinks it will help, and that definitely keeps things interesting and moving forwards throughout the album’s duration.

Quite literally anything goes with The Catalyst… as the band lurches – sometimes in the same song – between blackened blast beats, heads down thrash/death riffs and pulsing EDM rhythms, all topped of with Villberg’s angered howls; It’s hard to encapsulate using simple words how successful the resultant barrage is – listen to the track at the end of this review for proof if you are having trouble believing what I’m typing.

Today my favourite track is the brilliant Grey, a strident, bellicose slab of industrial-tinged metal a la Fear Factory, swathed in icy synths yet dirty and visceral as it gets; but yesterday it was the breakneck Odium Generis Humani and tomorrow it’ll probably be the long-drawn out ecstatic agony of penultimate track Osiris. It’s that kind of album.

Impossible to nail down to just one genre, too fleet of foot and thought to encapsulate with a single genre-obsessed name tag, Diablerie are a breath of foetid air in the increasingly formulaic world of extreme metal. If you’re a goth, a thrasher, a deathhead, a ritual-obsessed fan of the black arts, all of the above, or none of the above – there’s still something that’ll get your extremities moving on this album.

The Catalyst vol I: Control is released on January 27th by Primitive Reaction.