Thursday, July 5, 2012

Antediluvian / Adversarial - Initiated in Impiety as Mysteries (2012)

Split. Nuclear War Now! Productions
June 28th, 2012

Genre: Death Metal
Region: Canada

This is a split I've been hearing about while it was being formed since late last year from a few friends "in the know", and I've been quite excited to hear how it turned out. Needless to say it's phenomenal.

Initiated in Impiety As Mysteries is an essential split record of churning chaos containing two of Canada's most talented, ferocious and hard working death metal acts couldn't be anything less than utterly destructive. Antediluvian and Adversarial on their own have both made big impacts in the last few years so I guess it was only natural they would combine their efforts. While both bands play distinctly different styles of death metal their pairing feels natural. And because essentially each release they've worked on independently has been gold (with growth in each careful step) you shouldn't be surprised once you unleash this to find it is no different in that regard.

Adversarial commits three wicked songs to their side. Two of the songs here ("Swirling Chaos that Swallows Horizons" and "Spiraling Towards the Ultimate End") they've been playing live since ROD III, and I've heard them each time they've played a set since. Hearing them live in their more raw form it was undeniable that they were no less crushing than their work on All Idols Fall Before The Hammer, but now having the chance to listen to them full worked through and a little cleaned up their impact has risen greatly.

For those of you who were bitching about the snare on All Idols Fall Before The Hammer there's good news: the snare is far more tame here. Every other aspect of the percussion remains the same: intense, blazing fast and intimidating. It really does the job of amping up the guitar in the faster sections very well, trampling like a stampede of elephants. Adversarial continues to hone their unique style of awe-inspiring and tasteful technicality with restraint allowing it to feel far more orthodox than you would expect. Carlos is still a fucking beast: his ability to craft high velocity, smart and dissonant riffs that remain catchy and memorable is something more musicians in the modern death metal arena should take note of.

The way he shreds on the opener (following a short ambient intro) shows that he's still full of creative riff ideas, as he snakes his way from technical sections into more dirty, mid paced tremolo sections and then into a slow dissonance which eventually ramps up as some of those crooked notes float in the background is quite satisfying. "Swirling Chaos that Swallows Horizons" has too many excellent moments: from the first riff (which repeats multiple times in the song) to the one that directly follows it at 1:45 which slams you with a combination of choppy fast powerchords and thick palm-muted tremolo shreds to the apocalyptic section emerging from a brief silence — it's all top notch and catchy as hell.

"Into the Waning of Twilight's Death Ocean" is the only track here I'm pretty sure I haven't heard previously but it's no less excellent then the others: cutting technicality and sparks discordance placed between shorter slow chords. The last riff in this song is beastly as it changes it's structures gradually, serpentine and then galloping, will put you on your ass.

"Spiraling Towards the Ultimate End" mirrors the feeling of the first track with one difference: the final haunting section filled with delay which is spellbinding, meandering slightly but circling a familiar theme as the drumming shifts from slow to blazing several times. I remember it clearly from the times I've seen it live but it's even more tremendous here. There's a really technical chunky moment which is just awesome, and the whining riff that's unleashed at 1:15 (and appears again later) is unforgettable.

Antediluvian's side is just as vicious as Adversarial's. I've heard one of these tracks live as well though I did not know the official title at the time.Their sound from Through The Cervix of Hawaah has carried over on these three tracks but the production feels far more raw (as it was on their earlier releases) and to me it seems the atmosphere and structures sound far closer to those heard on Under Wing of Asael.

Even with this being said you can hear growth in their compositions. While there are no behemoth length tracks what Antediluvian are doing on this release is truly magnificent — it's still a swirling catastrophe of jagged darkness but more warped than anything they've done. Crushing waves of sustained bends clash with dirty and tangled tremolo riffs over a storm of furious drumming (which is fairly overwhelmed by the other players and a little "cardboard" sounding), while the bass is so clear it's actually surprising; it's right up front with the guitar.

The most chaotic track is their opener "Force of Suns of Adversary" which is a writhing pile of blackened riffs for the first minute but halts for a wicked slow section reminiscent of the title track from their Asael demo: its a breathing archaic atmosphere in these moments, before moving into more thrashing chaos and again — only to be interrupted by a clean hammer on section which is a little bizarre, and once the distortion is cranked again the sharp scream that echos above turns this into a frightening experience. The vocals remain undeniably inhuman.

"Dissolution Spires" is a little different, slower paced for the most part after a writhing intro section — again the huge, rusted bends  with the thick bass line beneath reminds me of their demo, it's a hypnotic set of sounds that no other death metal group is messing with at this point. These sections make up the bulk of the track and it's entirely engrossing, and even when the pacing speeds up later in the track these grotesque warps remain largely. Near the end there's a truly evil "solo"(it's barely a solo in the traditional sense) which howls and groans in an unearthly manner, it's just great.

"Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (I Am That I Am)" I saw performed live last year and it slays. It closes this split and much like the previous track it's slower, opening with a cold melody before speeding up briefly and then slamming back to a trudge with an avalanche of dissonant sustained dirges bringing oppressive atmosphere with them; and this pattern repeats in slight variations for the rest of the track. Those slow sections are eerie and otherworldly, a sharp contrast to the ferocity of the moments that come immediately after but no less intense. Near the very end there's a set of riffs that are some of the strangest they've crafted: the pace is quick but the guitar is slow, creeping, warped while the bass lines are quick and filthy. Antediluvian's contribution is just as consistent and strong as their previous work if not more so, their writing continues to impress and tighten.

Absolutely fantastic. This might be one of best splits in a while and there have been some excellent ones in the past two years. Both of these bands a morphing their styles ever so slightly and yet still keep them solid, making for some killer material that rivals their full length works. Don't bother hesitating on snatching a copy from Nuclear War Now! Productions, this is something that deserves your cash.

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