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Adversarial – Solitude With the Eternal…

adversarial –  solitude with the eternal…


Canada has proven to be one of the most fruitful hotbeds of Death/Black Metal, birthing a wide breadth of musical projects. One of these acts is Adversarial, a band who had exploded on the scene with 2010s ‘All Idols Fall Before the Hammer’ – a solid debut that was unfortunately mired by some weird mixing choices that put the snare drum above all else. The band very quickly rectified this with the follow-up ‘Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism’ , which set the template for their brand of in your face Death/Black laced with a melodic undercurrent. After nearly a decade of silence, the band have returned to grace us with more sonic depravity in the form of this album, ‘Solitude with the Eternal’.

As mentioned above, Adversarial’s music is characterized by a strain of aggressive and thunderous Death/Black Metal that is mixed with simmers of melody throughout the course of the record. Whereas some bands fall into the fault of treating aggression and melody in two separate buckets, Adversarial bond both together in an effortless manner without sacrificing any of the intensity of the music. The melodic chords played are not flashy in any sense either, but instead carry a tense and ominous tone that further enhances the dark atmosphere in the music. You can almost characterize it as hypnotic the way the harmonies are played alongside furious blast beats in the background all the while C.S. delivers what can only be described as inhuman growl, spewing ghastly words from his vocal cords almost dripping with venomous poison.

While this album is chokeful of sinister and menacing riffs, so much credit needs to be given to the work of E.K. behind the kit. His drumming is chaotic and controlled, capable of annihilating us with intense blastbeats but at the same time bringing the tempo down when required to give us some of the darker passages hidden within the album. That’s one of the biggest fortes that Adversarial has compared to other Death/Black acts, their ability to effortlessly transition pace as well as a lack of adherence to more general verse/chorus song structures – which make it difficult to guess where the record will go next. Every track keeps you second guessing what will happen.

To pinpoint a track which encapsulates all of this, ‘Crushed into the Kingdom of Darkness’ serves as a good barometer. The track feels like a constant build-up to something grander as it kicks off with a simple harmonic riff and a soft bass drum pounding. This soon gives way to a more elaborate midsection where the tempo picks up, briefly dipping to a crawl again before erupting into a simple, yet evocative guitar solo. That is not to say the album doesn’t have tracks that perhaps fit more into the mold of relentless Black/Death. Fans will have plenty of that in pulverizing songs like ‘Witness to the Eternal Night’ or ‘Merging with the Destroyer’.

We may have had to wait a long time for this Canadian outfit to grant us another album, but the wait has been worthwhile. It’s a richly layered and dynamic album that is equal parts devastating, entrancing and pure darkness encapsulated in just half an hour. The constant ebb and flow of melody and brutality will undoubtedly produce a whiplash effect on the listener, but in a good way and invites repeated listens to uncover all the small details hidden within this record that oozes darkness in every orifice.

Dark Descent Records

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