While not being one of the biggest black metal fans around these parts, there’s always the chance that a band will crawl out of the genre and completely change that. The genre and it’s purveyors are usually met by this author with derisory comments about the stylings of their music and that is not going to change here, unfortunately. Adversarial and their obtusely titled new release may fall victim to the blogger’s sword from this point out, but it should be known that they’re only getting the dull edge of the blade.
Death, Endless Nothing And The Black Knife Of Nihilism is a deadly serious title. Adversarial aren’t fucking around in checked shirts and tight jeans, playing black metal with an indie aesthetic. The band are fully immersed into their “warrior death cult” image and this does come across in their music. Foregoing a truly DIY production job, the black metal here is slightly rough around the edges, but it feels quite cold. The belched metal vocals are lost somewhere in between an airy, delayed lead guitar tone and the clickity clackity of traditional black metal kick drums. It doesn’t feel totally ghetto in the sense that there has been a lot of studio wizardry put into play to make this sound a decade older than it really is. Not really the black metal approach but hey, what even is DIY production today? To be fair, making a band sound like they’re recording in a shed somewhere in the middle of Kidnapped and Murdered Shire is probably not as easy as one has been lead to believe (if the album was recorded in one of those sheds out in the sticks then congratulations on reinforcing the stereotype).
Musically there are really smart moments of song writing. In one of the unforgivably titled tracks, “Old Ruins Slumber In A Crushing Hatred Of Man”, there is a moment where everything slows down bar the percussion and a leering, creeper of a guitar lick plays from right to left and left to right. It’s pretty easy to get lost in these moments as they do tend to pull the listener deep into a chasm, full of despair, gutwrenching fear or loneliness, depending on the listener really. Even the vocals have a touch of clarity here, a clarity here that is lost everywhere else on the record, just about. The slower and more atmospheric that Adversarial try to get, the more intriguing that their music becomes. Too many sections of slow strummed chords over blasts make it difficult to find these moments; if one can pull their head out of the tub of corpse paint long enough to catch these dark grooves, well done.
To break tradition and attack this head on, I get why black metal and it’s fallout genres are so revered, I really do. Throw the classics at me and I fully appreciate what they were doing at the time was revolutionary. With newer acts taking black metal forward, there’s not enough innovation. Adversarial can play black metal spectacularly, words to the opposite effect would be uncouth, they just haven’t written anything that will blow the minds off of fans who perceive the genre and the aesthetics of black metal as simply that; something to look at headbang for a few minutes then scuttle off to find something more pleasing to the ear. Whether that is a black metal act that play with a banjo or a sludge band that have more dimensions in just a trio of guitar, bass and drums, Adversarial hit the heights of black metal acceptance alone. Death, Endless Nothing And The Black Knife Of Nihilism? It’s really more like Death, Endless Blastbeats and The Beige Knife Of Basic Black Metal.
Adversarial’s Death, Endless Nothing And The Black Knife Of Nihilism gets…