Adversarial – Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism

Adversarial - Death Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism

Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism1 is the second full-length release by blackened death metal trio Adversarial of Ontario, Canada. It’s out on Dark Descent Records; a small label out of Colorado Springs, CO that caters to death metal’s many permutations and features artists such as Horrendous and Sempiternal Dusk. The members of Adversarial are only identifiable by their initials on official releases, which adds some mystique to the already murky music.

To Adversarial’s credit as songwriters, Death… is surprisingly melodic for a blackened death metal album. Whereas many bands in the genre are content to layer recycled tritone riffs over timeworn blast beats that only serve to be br00tal, Adversarial writes genuinely decent hooks, as best demonstrated on “Immersion Void Paragon.”

Mind you, the “melodic” aspect is relative: Death… is an extremely abrasive, aggressive record that would have the PMRC2 and Religious Right up in arms. And rightly so: C.S.’s screams are straight demonic; he roars with impenetrable misanthropy. They’re thoroughly evil, and although the lyrics are unintelligible, the incorrigible depravity works extremely well for this type of death metal in its ability to create a milieu of rapacious devastation.

Although most tracks have a rich and full sound, the percussion is improperly mixed. The bass drum is inaudible, and the snare drum sounds like bubble wrap being popped underwater, as heard most flagrantly on “Eonik Spiritual Warfare” and the title track. The interlude is a corny bit of air raid sirens, gunfire, and a sample from the film version of 1984 where O’Brien delivers a speech describing the Party’s image of the future as a “boot stamping on the human face forever.” It’s edgy if you’re a fifteen-year old who just watched V for Vendetta for the first time; otherwise, it’s completely unnecessary.

Those two issues make Death… a haphazard release with uneven thematic and production quality, despite phenomenal performances by each band member. Adversarial has great promise as a blackened death metal act and displays wonderfully unbridled ferocity; achieving such promise necessitates fine-tuning their mixes and not taking themselves so seriously lest they become a parody of themselves.

1. Dissenting the Waking Shell – (4:28) – ★★★★☆
2. Intro3 – (1:33) – ★★★☆☆
3. Immersion Void Paragon – (4:36) – ★★★★★
4. Eonik Spiritual Warfare – (4:49) – ★★★★☆
5. Interlude – (2:01) – ★☆☆☆☆
6. Cursed Blades Cast upon the Slavescum of Christ – (5:14) – ★★★☆☆
7. Old Ruins Slumber in a Crushing Hatred of Man – ★★★★★
8. Lone Wresting Hymns to the Warmoon of Chaos – (6:13) – ★★★★☆
9. Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism – (4:52) – ★★★☆☆

Overall: ★★★½☆

1Oxford comma be damned!
2Is that reference even relevant anymore?
3I’ve never seen an album that has an “Intro” as track number two.

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