Monday, August 16, 2010

Adversarial - All Idols Fall Before the Hammer (2010)

Adversarial is a Canadian outfit performing a blend of vile, roots death and black metal not unlike an ungodly abomination of Morbid Angel, Deicide, Angelcorpse and Mayhem. Like their countrymen and lately label mates Begrime Exemious, they do this with a fluid hostility that successfully batters down the natural barriers found in the various sub-genres, so the listener will never once question how they were not always paired in a heathen union of unfettered extremity. Unlike Begrime Exemious, though, the trio of Adversarial use utter guttural vocals akin to Incantation or Demilich, and they tend to retain a high velocity throughout the entirety of this debut, All Idols Fall Before the Hammer.

Drums fly past with an earthen, natural tinniness to them which feels as if they were directed straight from a rehearsal room, cymbals and blasting snares at the forefront of the mix despite the incredible fortitude of their wielder E.K. (also of Horde of Worms, Twilight Hammer). The bass of Nuclearhammer's M.M. is a little harder to make out, since it blends in so well with the vapid six-string destruction of guitarist/vocalist C.S., but you'll still hear it from time to time, cavorting below the barbwire mesh of chaos riffing like a bull rhino repelling foolhardy African hunters from its watering holes. All together, these gentlemen summon forth a frenzy borne of hellish Northeasterly winds converging upon the suggested innocence of some god-fearing peoples, fusing into a tornado of blasphemy that uproots the local town hall and cathedral, thrashing them over the heads of the weak and wounded, women and worms.

This is hideous and grating material which will not satisfy the hungerer of accessibility nor melodic structures. Its fucking brute and barbarism, with the biggest concession being the band's eerie, occasional visit towards calmer evil like the glistening diabolism of the intro to "In a Night of Endless Pain, War Came to Flood His Heart...", coincidentally one of the coolest compositions here. "Scourge of a World Ablaze" also steps outside the band's discomfort zone of frenzied propulsion, with spooky clean guitars in the intro. "Death.Rot.Monolith" is also quite eerie, if only for the opening minute. Yet even in these holocaust desert oases, the storm is just around the corner, and much of the track list ("Churning the Storm", "Thralls", "Ruin Enshrined") blasts you into dust before you can even object to the mistreatment.

The devil is in the details with this record, and if you're annoyed by rambling, lo-fi production or the fuck-all concern for the listener's sanity or health, avoid at all costs. However, if can stomach its flattening displays of prowess, you will find some mesmerizing lattice of evil, old school riffs played at intense paces by the same man that is barking an extremely low-pitched prophecy of the end times, and his backing rhythm section are just as off their fucking rocker. Try to imagine if Australia's Portal performed in a more straightforward, less turbulent and discordant, but sped up commitment, and you will not be far from the truth of this debut, which is certain to turn a few heads, if not spin them off their necks outright into a chorus of mocking last breaths and blank, dead stares of disbelief.

Verdict: Win [7.5/10]

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