By: Daniel Jackson
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 21/08/2015
Label: Dark Descent Records
Anyone with an affinity for death and/or black metal that looks to both unsettle and get your adrenaline going should give this album a shot. It’s atmospheric without relying on increasingly clichéd post metal influences, but it’s got more than enough grime and grit to go around.
‘Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism’ CD//LP//DD track listing:
1. Dissenting the Waking Shell
3. Immersion Void Paragon
4. Eonik Spiritual Warfare
6. Cursed Blades Cast Upon the Slavescum of Christ
7. Old Ruins Slumber in a Crushing Hatred of Man
8. Lone Wresting Hymns to the Warmoon of Chaos
9. Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism
CS | Vocals, Guitar
EK | Drums
MM | Bass
Adversarial specialize in a sort of warping, dissonant guitar maelstrom that’s becoming more and more common in death and black metal as the years go on. Some day, maybe even soon, the ugly, mood-altering darkness that made Gorguts, Immolation, Akercocke and Deathspell Omega stand out in days gone by may very well become the new normal. Styles tend to lose their lustre for a while before the cycle comes back around and what was old becomes new again. While the tide of cavernous Incantation lovers seems to have ebbed slightly during 2015, the cacophony of those aforementioned death and black metal bands seems to be more prevalent in the albums coming out this year.
With great albums already released by Imperial Triumphant and Shrine of Insanabilis featuring a similar brand of disjointed, caustic blackened death metal, Adversarial and ‘Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism’ had an exceptionally high bar to meet. While this album does come up short of those benchmarks, it’s still more than worth your time as a strong album in its own right. It’s not as unabashedly weird as Imperial Triumphant, and there’s a stronger death metal inclination than with Shrine of Insanabilis, so perhaps a more fair point of reference is ‘Gesundrian’, last year’s unholy colossus of an album from Diocletian. I’d still have it a notch below albums that are likely to appear on my year-end list, but that likely has more to do with me than Adversarial.
What keeps me from keeping this Adversarial album in the same league with any of the albums I’ve mentioned is my own well-documented distaste for American style blasting, where the kick and snare are struck simultaneously. In my case, the use of that blasting style has a tendency to soften or even undo some of the tension the bleak, unnerving guitars create. I more than realize that won’t be the case for most listeners, so be prepared to enjoy this album a bit more than I do as it is. Drummer E.K. seems to prefer the American blast in especially high tempos before alternating to the more favorable European blasting during “more reasonable” tempos, and the drum sound being as well-suited to the material as it is keeps the technique from truly souring me on the album like it has with others.
While a couple of my own personal preferences are going to stop me short of shouting praise for ‘Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism’ from a mountain top, there’s no denying that there is some potent, powerful work going on here. Anyone with an affinity for death and/or black metal that looks to both unsettle and get your adrenaline going should give this album a shot. It’s atmospheric without relying on increasingly clichéd post metal influences, but it’s got more than enough grime and grit to go around.