Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Antediluvian - Through the Cervix of Hawaah (2011)

Because Mitochondrion wasn't enough, Canada has unleashed yet another epoch of guttural clamor upon the unsuspecting with the advent of Antediluvian. A band which has, in its brief five year existence, managed to open some yawning portal to the beyond, and have its members' minds massaged and supplanted with the tendrils of extra-dimensional abominations with whom direct visual contact would drive even the most hardened and resolute mortal insane. You can see this in the abstraction of the cover artwork, but perhaps more glaringly in the oozing, unhallowed compositions which 'grace' their first proper full-length Through the Cervix of Hawaah, one of the more oily and appreciably disgusting efforts to emerge beneath the banner of the maple leaf in some years.

I've on occasion used the term 'cavern core' to describe this modern sort of crushingly guttural old school exaltation, but I'll be frank: no subterranean space could contain Antediluvian for very long. This is copious, lurching and primordial death metal which resonates as much at a faster pace as it does at the snail-like, expected speed, and the Canadians are also mindful of the actual presence of 'riffs'. Not to just down-tune the guitars and play random sequences of chords and tremolo notes, but actually try to draw the ear towards less predictable patterns. I cannot claim to have found a great number of note progressions here that piqued my interest over the long term, but I laud the fact that they at least tried. More resonant with me were the vocals, which are dour and brutal enough at their most simplistic, but often stretched into these creepy and unfathomable, sustained passages as one will find in the depths of the title track. In other places, they'll back up the central growling with a second, decrepit vocal that makes the listener feel like two Elder Gods are fighting over his/her bones before they've even supped on his/her flesh.

It's highly unnerving, and that word more than any other best sums up this recording. Certainly, Antediluvian offer one of the most bowel rupturing, uncomfortable brands of experimental death metal out there, but I must also point out that there is a good deal of variation to be found on Through the Cervix of Hawaah. From the incendiary blasting of "Luminous Harvest" or "Gomorrah Entity (Perversion Reborn)" to the ambient indoctrination of "Turquoise Infidel" to the shivering post-operative feedback and battering of "Erect Reflection (Abyss of Organic Matter)", no two tracks are precisely alike. Hell, they even take a sudden and unexpected turn towards warmer, cyclic melodies in the bridge of "Scions of Ha Nachash (Spectre of the Burning Valley)", perhaps the most forgiving piece on the album. It's quite a trip, and the descriptive, disturbing Biblical inversion of the lyrics make for an appropriate, squamous companion to the tremulous, turbulent songwriting.

The one potential drawback to this work is simply that it's another of those albums you are more prone to 'experience' than shatter into its constituents and party hard to with your headbanging friends. Your girlfriend is not going to slip this onto her iPod (and if she is, all the power to you). You're not going to find an "Enter Sandman"or "Breaking the Law" anywhere within a thousand miles of this, and in fact there are very few individual guitar lines I could even point towards as 'hey, check THIS out' material. As someone who has traditionally favored the guitar driven metal album for decades over those more abstract and artsy sorts, I find that I need to be in a certain head space to wrap myself around this. It's not perfect, but then it's only the first album...

But that aside, Through the Cervix of Hawaah is one such trip worth taking, a surreal deconstruction of religious symbolism and a slovenly, tunneling anathema to the premise of jock-death prowess, polish and technology. Some Shoggoth's dinner escaped its plate and found its way to Profound Lore Records, so if your various poisons include Portal, Demilich, Incantation and Mitochondrion, grab a spork and have at it.

Verdict: Win [8.25/10]
(ophidian phalanges thrust)

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