PICK OF THE WEEK: War’s eternal fires flare up on Adversarial’s bleak ‘Death, Endless Nothing…’

AdversarialAll-out war has come. Explosions rock the ground, buildings are blazing out of control, and the assault is coming right for you. There isn’t any place to hide, as you’re in the wide open, and your only choice is to fight back for your life or let the opposing forces absorb you as you become a stain in the earth.

The above scenario is how it feels taking on Adversarial’s punishing second record “Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism,” one of the most furious death metal platters of the second half of the year. These guys are complete blazers, unloading everything they have on you and crushing you with blinding assaults that come from all ends. Over these nine tracks and a little more than 37 minutes, Adversarial do whatever it takes to demolish any weaklings standing in their way who are afraid of the fight. They want nothing more than blood, chaos, and violence, and they pay that in dividends during this record, which should thrill the hell out of anyone with a hunger for death metal that is as violent and unforgiving as it comes.

Adversarial coverAdversarial crawled out of hell’s gates (well, OK, Toronto) nearly a decade ago, and they delivered their sickening debut album “All Idols Fall Before the Hammer” in 2010. The members of this band—vocalist/guitarist C.S. (Sentient), bassist M.M. (of criminally underappreciated and like-minded Paroxsihzem and formerly of bands such as Nuclearhammer), and drummer E.K. (formerly of Horde of Worms, Lapidate)—also delivered an EP in 2011, then two split releases (one with Antediluvian, the other with aforementioned Paroxsihzem). But all of it leads here, to this maddening, dangerous, smothering album that practically sounds like it’s being delivered form the mouth of a raging inferno and has enough deadly riffs and smeary growling to keep you on alert for weeks.

“Dissenting the Waking Shell” tears the record open, with the band pounding relentlessly, the riffs burning, and the vocals delivering outright savagery. It feels like being stuck in a pit of chaos, with bullets flying all around you, and as the band shifts back and forth between tempos, the drums erupt and start slaughtering. The final moments are delirious and crazed, and they lead toward “Intro,” a song that has some weird placement and has a strange cosmic feel. We then head into “Immersion Void Paragon” and its boiling atmosphere, where you feel the sweat beginning to flow from your forehead. The vocals are crawling deep in the mix, sounding infernal, while the music slashes and lurches, and the lead guitar work sweats away. “Eonik Spiritual Warfare” has guitars stabbing all over the place, with gruff growls bubbling and an intense pace. The lead work goes all over the place, dizzying and troubling, while the drums are turned to dust. The vocals unleash torment before the tide pulls back and fades. “Interlude” is built on sirens, gunfire, and the sound of fires crackling, as lines from “1984” sneak through, the most impactful being, “Always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler.”

“Cursed Blades Cast Upon the Slavescum of Christ” isn’t exactly a spiritual anthem, and it erupts right from the start, with horrifying vocals, a blistering pace, and the growls later turning into pained wails. The riffs return to dominate, with all of the elements spiraling, and the track comes to a fiery conclusion. “Old Ruins Slumber in a Crushing Hatred of Man” continues the epic song titles and has an ominous, stinging beginning. The track melts into a mid-tempo hulking, with the guitars once again drawing blood from fragile skin, and the song eventually fizzles out in pools of lava. “Lone Wresting Hymns to the Warmoon of Chaos” gets crushing right away, stomping bodies and claiming everything in front of them. The growls are just furious, with the pace kicking into overdrive, the drums bashing in your brains, and your entire skeletal system getting rattled to its core. That leads into the title cut finale that is an immediate onslaught of violence, a face-first drive into torture that should bubble your skin in no time. The pace is ungodly massive, twisting and turning the gears and unleashing the blackness, while the vocals return to their gurgly best, chilling your bones on the way through damnation’s gates.

Adversarial’s approach isn’t safe or sanitized, and surely they wouldn’t have it any other way. This is music meant to hurt, designed to terrify, and trying to do as much bodily and auditory damage as possible. “Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism” is for those strong enough to handle it, and it’s one of the year’s most satisfying death metal albums. War is coming, and it’s charging right from the boots of Adversarial, who don’t have time to take prisoners.

For more on the band go here: http://www.adversarial.ca/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/