Adversarial/Antediluvian- Initiated in Impiety as Mysteries
Sometimes life is filled so many good things, it's hard not to take all of it for granted. Eventually, it all becomes a blur, and our instant access to the vast bounties of information and entertainment obscure the little things that make life worth schlubbing through. Little things like, oh, for example, a mega split featuring two of Death Metal's defining and original acts unleashing sonic devastation and plague-ridden winds of the occult onto your undeserving and worthless ass.
I try to live for the little things.
Initiated in Impiety as Mysteries is a culmination of destruction unlike just about anything you have heard. Both Adversarial and Antediluvian bring their A+ + material here; Adversarial, a weapon of mass destruction and unholy fire, and Antediluvian, a cryptic curse of malevolent evil echoed amongst the ruins, have evolved well past many, if not all, of their peers and become something truly diabolical and wicked. In truth, this split is slightly more important for Adversarial overall, but this harbinger brings forth the Word of two evils with equal vigor and violence. Initiated in Impiety as Mysteries is not only essential, it's required in this modern age of Death Metal where merely imitating other bands is sufficient for success.
Adversarial start of this split, and this was the side I was easily the most excited for. The bands debut LP, All Idols Fall Before the Hammer, was to me a disappointing masterpiece. It was an album that was brutal beyond words yet as dynamic, intense and intelligent as any Death Metal album in history. It also featured a production which would have killed a lesser album for this reviewer, and made it impossible for others to enjoy. Between the non-existent vocals, the weak guitar tone and the utterly ruthless ping-holocaust of the snare drum, All Idols Fall Before the Hammer featured a barrier for entry that kept it from the recognition it, and the band, deserved. Production will not be an issue for those that listen to Initiated in Impiety as Mysteries, as Adversarial's side of the split, titled "Leviathan," features the best produced material the band has released. The guitars and bass whirl and twist in the vortex, forming a swirling mass of black matter that blots out all light, while the guttural machinations of vocalist Carlos are not lost in the mist but proudly and freakishly inhuman. And yes, they fixed the snare sound, a triumph even the most masochistic of us can be happy about. This isn't just the best produced Adversarial material though. This is the best Adversarial material period. Even the brilliance of All Idols Fall Before the Hammer pales in comparison to the inhuman feats of bestial guitar wizardry and supersonic percussion on display here. Their exact sound is (thankfully) difficult to shoehorn into one genre or another. We hear some Incantation, Blasphemy, Demilich, Angelcorpse and Immolation, but it all feels fluid and organic. Adversarial are playing with demoniacal fire of their own design, walking a mythical and dangerous path that few have ever tread. The bands technicality may not jump right out at you, but multiple listens reveal deeply entrenched complexity and inhuman precision. Discordant riffs and tight, precise drum work drives each track through their serpentine paths of unhallowed entrancement. "Spiraling Towards the Ultimate End" is particular stands out, not only as the best track on the split, but as one of the best Death Metal songs I've ever heard. Equal parts haunting and brutal, the track deftly jumps from slaughter to introspective dissonance, and the two minutes or so of the track will leave you feeling cold and dead inside... and I mean that in the best way possible. With this track alone, Adversarial have ascended, or descended, into true hellish preponderance.
Antediluvian really didn't need this split as much as Adversarial needed it to announce their grand declarations of genocide. The bands brilliant debut, last years Through the Cervix of Hawaah, was more then enough to put Antediluvian amongst the elite purveyors of death. That doesn't mean the band didn't try to out-do themselves again on Initiated in Impiety as Mysteries; the bands side of the split, entitled "Lucifer," is an masters-course on occult ritual and demonic influence via sound waves. Various personal additions have obviously added to the bands improved technical chops, which are leaps and bounds from their early, underwhelming demo material, but it's the song-writing here that stands out most. Antediluvian take over-used terms like "occult," "creepy," and "evil" much more seriously then many of their peers, and seek to develop them in new ways that isn't "doing it like Autopsy/Incantation/Entombed" did it. Sure, their sound is informed by the past, with such influences as Incantation, Imprecation and Beheirt coming through quite clearly. Yet much like Adversarial, Antediluvian have created their own sick rituals of sacrifice and malice, not merely stolen others. The skin-crawling dissonance of "Dissolution Spires" or the suffocating, rhythmically intense miasma of "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh(I Am That I Am)" are unlike anything I've heard in Death Metal before: familiar yet alien.
I think it might be obvious which side this particular reviewer prefers. I take nothing away from Antediluvian here: this band is clearly working on a different level from most of their peers, even in the brilliant Canadian Death Metal scene. Their twisted, deformed nightmares are impressive beyond words and deserving of endless accolades. But something about Adversarial, really since I first heard All Idols Fall Before the Hammer(well, the first time I heard it. My first listen was spent mostly cringing) speaks to me on a deeper level. Their incredible mix of pure technical prowess and atmospheric, emotional detail is without a doubt something to behold in terror and adulation. To see these two bands working like this to bring down all we thought we knew about Death Metal, it's equal parts unsettling and exhilirating to think what the future might hold. What can we, as mere mortals, do in the face of such an all encompassing artistic realization of evil?
I don't think we stand a chance.