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It's curious how in pursuit of a completely chaotic sound, a lot of modern death metal sounds really structured and predictable. Sure, it sounds pretty menacing and confrontational at first, but anything that only has a few methods of going about things is going to get boring after a while. Even bands like Ulcerate and Portal who have polished this sonic chasm of a style a little more don't often have riffs that really staple themselves in your memory--the focus is much more on atmosphere as opposed to earworm hooks. After a few listens, this spastic, abrasive new death metal stuff really just has a different bitter sort of spice that you must force yourself to be accustomed to. What was originally thought to be chaos is actually a carefully plotted structure, and though that structure itself might be crafted well enough in its own right, there's always been a part of me that's been searching for music that genuinely embodies what chaos might sound like.
I'm not gonna say I found that primeval chaos on Through the Cervix of Hawwah, but damn if I didn't come pretty close to what I was looking for. Several rotations later, this album still just sounds like it's falling apart at the seams. The music abruptly starts, stops, changes pace without warning, convulses out of a drudging rhythm in a way that you never expect it to. Even expecting the unexpected does absolutely nothing to help you in figuring out what the hell's going on here. The vocals are impossible to decipher, even when you have the lyric booklet right in front of you and you're following along. Just when you think you've figured out where the music's going to flow, it throws in an idea that sounds so dissimilar to what was going on before there's no way you can predict it even if you've heard the album before. I've spun this maybe ten or fifteen times since I first bought it, and I can't say I really LIKED what was going on, but the unpredictability of it all makes it really consistently fascinating. Songwriting-wise, the first band that pops into mind when trying to compare Antediluvian's style to someone is Autopsy. Aesthetically the two groups really don't have as much in common right now, but it feels as though Antediluvian have the same sort of idea that Autopsy did back in the day: taking bits and pieces of the filthiest music available at the time and haphazardly stitching it together to create a Frankenstinian mix of extremity that sounds even more demented than the music it's influenced by--this is what Antediluvian has in common with the American death metal titans, and it is the strong suit of both.
The chaos alone certainly isn't the only thing that keeps this album enjoyable, but it's the underlying force driving all of the riffs into your skull. Occasionally, a wisp of melody or groove seeps to the surface of a riff, but it never lasts for long. You can hear faint traces of Incantation influence, but it's been contorted to the point when it's only occasionally recognizable. This resembles something close to a strange, abstract take on brutal death metal, but it's not really that "progressive". The spastic, directionless songwriting and the odd, original quirks to the riffs make it sound more like any apparent musical skill in the people behind this was a complete accident, like some scatterbrained jam session where everything fell into the right place. Usually bands that take this approach are completely cacophonous a lot of the time, but there's just enough detail here that everything comes through with the clarity it needs to truly seem insane and convoluted.
This may just be another one of those albums that death metal fans listen to in order to seem smart and cultured--when I put an Antediluvian album on, I don't really "enjoy" it as much as I try and make sense of it. I imagine you don't really mosh or headbang much to stuff like this when you see it live, either. Maybe this is a death metal masterpiece for the next generation, maybe this is just a pretentious pile of nonsensical shit, all I know is that Through the Cervix of Hawwah doesn't really stop being interesting to listen to for whatever reason. Even if this shit is right up your alley, chances are it'll still be a grower.
LOL kidding, these Canadians are not flower metal... It's actually more like total chaostorm nuclear darkness death metal. Or maybe blackened occult exponential bloodrain death metal. Any way, it is for sure death metal, or black/death metal for some. The first thing that came to my mind when I decided I should write this review was "fuck light". Ιf there is one thing that can be said about Antediluvian's debut album, it is that it's as dark as the depths of the ocean.
Well, the last sentence is something that in this day and age could arguably be said about a shitload of bands that belong to the underground death metal scene, from Cemetery Urn and Ritual Necromancy to Adversarial and Heresiarch. So, what is that which puts Antediluvian apart from most bands of the same zeitgeist? Well, it's that their music is some of the most convincing shit around. The only band that could be paralleled to Antediluvian's twisted aesthetic values of monolithic death metal chaos is Portal, the key difference being that Portal's music is greatly described by their song title "Transcending a Mere Multiverse" whereas Antediluvian's music is more "earthly". Did I say earthly? Let me clarify things. Imagine a planet with a grey sky (the prevalent colour of the artwork), inhabited by huge, monstrous entities which exist in a state of nature, or, a war of all against all. The scenery is completed by perpetual deluge, earthquakes and volcanos errupting. That is the Earth of "Through the Cervix of Hawwah".
Now, as I'm done with the metaphors, let me describe the music itself, even though this is pretty much the most indescribable album I've come across. The guitars are not "indistinguishable" in the way that Impetuous Ritual's guitars sound "indistinguishable". "Rephaim Sceptre..." prepared me for Deathspell Omega meets Incantation death metal, and even though these are two of my favourite bands, the result actually sounds much better than the aforementioned combination could ever sound. You know, the riffs are usually distorted in the overall chaos of the thunderous blasting and the otherworldly vocals, whereas the basslines would be hard to swallow even for people who would consider themselves lovers of underground death metal "rawness". To enjoy this album you have to actually pay attention to it, and fuck, it's worth every damn second. Antediluvian is like having sex. You might know how it's going to end but every time you enjoy it like it's the first time. The perfect example for that is the song "Scions of Ha-Nachash (Spectre of the Burning Valley)", which goes through a wormhole of riffs to end in the best conclusion that death metal has given birth to since Dead Congregation's "Teeth Into Red", which is one of my favourite songs ever. This happens again on "Luminous Harvest" and by the end of my first time listening to the record I was in the awkward position of not being sure whether what I experienced was for real, or just phantasizing, and I decided to give the record another spin. The third spin came right after the realization that "Through the Cervix of Hawwah" is one of the most evil offsprings of this whole new wave of underground death metal that has been pleasing our ears and penises for some years now.
To conclude, I have to say that you should totally check this band if you're into anything I have mentioned above -even if you're not- and that I expect even better stuff from Antediluvian, and that they are a leading force in the aforementioned wave of death metal bands, probably in my top 5. I think that if you have come to the point to read an interview about Antediluvian, you will probably love their music as much as I did. I mean, if you were a fan of Whitechapel or Sonata Arctica you would not be here, you would be listening to Whitechapel or Sonata Arctica. They also have a split with Adversarial and one with Temple Nightside, both of which are totally enjoyable bands in their own right, which is extra credit for all. Yosuke of Nuclear War Now! Productions wrote that "Through the Cervix of Hawwah" was his favourite album of 2011. Trust him.
Canada's Antediluvian has been getting quite a bit of praise for their first full-length album, Through the Cervix of Hawaah, often being compared to label-mates and fellow Canucks Mitochondrion as practicing a dark, alien form of death metal. So of course I got the album.
A little background information on the themes is appropriate. The term Antediluvian refers to the period before the Biblical Deluge (the Flood), and is often portrayed as a time when everything was greater than it is now--greater good, greater evil, mighty empires, giants, and Nephilim in the world. (This is quite probably the basis for Tolkien's First Age.) It's also a term used to refer to any ancient period that's ill-understood. Hawaah is (apparently) another name for Eve, so the album title refers to all humanity infected with original sin. Cool, huh?
Any concepts aside, the music is excellent. Mitochondrion may not be the best comparison, even within the Profound Lore roster, because the sound is much closer to Vasaeleth. In other words, it's not the mind-bending avant-garde variety. It's the straight-forward variety of death, made as filthy as possible. Ugly riffs and blast beats create a murky vortex of putrid noise, but the production is such that you can clearly hear every gory detail if you want to focus on such things. There are also plenty of doomy sections, the occasional horrific ambient, and some weird, gurgling background vocals.
In short, it sounds like all of the most wicked, evil things of the Antediluvian age going about their barbaric business of dismemberment and debauchery, which are things they like to do simultaneously.
The Verdict: Old-school death metal may be oversaturated of late, but once again Profound Lore has put forth the best of the best.
originally written for http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/
The term "Antediluvian" refers a period in the biblical time frame between the creation of the earth and the great flood. The bible itself refers very little to this period of time but makes subtle references towards other ancient Jewish documents that delve much deeper into the esoteric bowls of the ancient world. "The book of Enoch" seems to be the primary source of lyrical inspiration for this band as well as "The book of Giants" from the more recent excavations at Qumran. These documents describe a world where humans lived absurdly long lengths (close to one thousand years) and angels (both good and evil) walked among man-kind. It is said that during this time period an angel named Samyaza lead a rebellion against Jehovah with the intention of breading Angels with humans and animals to create unholy monstrosities. Christian theologians (that are familiar with these documents/take them seriously) speculate that these experimentations were part of an effort to corrupt the holy bloodline leading to the birth of the messiah. The potential threat was strong enough to cause Jehovah to flood the earth, cleansing creation of this unholy genetic taint. Lyrically this album deals with the greatest blasphemy in the Judeo-Christian canon: blasphemy against all created things and forcing the creator to destroy his own creation.
Through the Cervix of Hawaah tells the aforementioned story in all its obscure, eldritch glory, not only lyrically but also musically. The drums are pumped full of bass, sound genuinely organic in texture and almost tribal in execution. The guitars and bass are as thick and murky as the primordial waters of the abyss that brought forth creation. Riffs can range anywhere between two and sixteen bar measures slowly morphing from one idea to the next without your typical ostentatious time signature changes found in your standard death metal. The production is very similar to Portal with the disembodied and murky tone, yet still sounds clear and concise. Unlike Portal the riffs never get lost in the mix. The vocalist sounds truly ominous, like an unhallowed creature locked behind the gates of Sheol, perpetually trying to escape its ancient prison.
The band fuses death metal and black metal in a very unique fashion, the black metal attributes never seem to out way the death metal attributes. The drumming is very akin to death metal throughout most of the release, whilst the guitars continually shift between black and death metal as if the two are totally interchangeable. Every time I listen to this release I am shocked by how it manages to be both chaotic and flowing like a rushing torrent, always shifting, never retaining the same form but consistently appearing static. This is the true definition of chaotic music and an ideal goal that many black, death and war metal bands should strive towards.
This release is especially relevant to me because I have always found the "Dead Sea Scrolls" and the "Book of Enoch" to be some of the most fascinating theological literature ever written. During my last year of high school I was transferred to a different campus where I didn't know many people. I spent the majority of my time listening to extreme metal and reading a 2005 translation of the "Dead Sea Scrolls" (yeah, I was a nerd.) To finally have a band that incorporates both of these is truly brilliant. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to hear a truly chaotic blackened death metal album with lyrical themes that extend beyond your standard uneducated "Satan banter."
Finally, after 5 years of releasing nothing but EPs and demos, Canada's Antediluvian releases their debut full length album, Through the Cervix of Hawaah. Last year's compilation album, Watcher's Reign managed to capture my attention with their extremely raw take on black/death metal, leaving me craving for more and anticipating for new material from the band. The release of Through the Cervix of Hawaah then finally feeds my craving from this destructive Canadian band.
Opening track Rephiam Sceptre... sounds almost as if the band has decided to take a different approach to their songwriting, with a lead guitar line that reminds listeners more of Norwegian-styled black metal rather than the Canadian style of bestial black/death metal that the band has been known for thus far, with the track ending with an almost epic guitar line, sounding like what bands like Watain would write instead of a band like Antediluvian. Fortunately though, as ...Through the Cervix of Hawaah begins, this is brutal and extremely bestial black/death metal as we know the band. The change (and personally, the improvement) of the production quality is immediately noticeable and will also make the album more enjoyable throughout, compared to the demo-quality production that previous Antediluvian releases have.
As the album progresses, the similarity to bands such as Portal becomes more and more obvious, with the album sounding like a Portal album with a more bass-heavy production. The heavy and dark atmosphere is also reminiscent of bands such as Vasaeleth and Grave Miasma. The buzzing guitar tone is abrasive, and the vocals of Haasiophis and Nabucodnosor are tortured, and sees them alternating between low, gurgled growls and higher pitched shrieks, increasing the level of insanity in the music. Like on Watcher's Reign as well, the drumming is also one of the charming aspects of the album, with Mars' drumming being one of the things that initially captivated me.
The band on Through the Cervix of Hawaah also experiments with new songwriting styles, with songs like Intuitus Mortuus providing some of the slowest moments of Antediluvian, focussing instead of the dark and haunting atmosphere on the track, on top of the usual faster numbers that are familiar to listeners, providing some variation in the band's music compared to their Canadian counterparts. Things like the inhuman scream on Erect Reflection (Abyss of Organic Matter) causes the listeners skin to crawl as well. The higher level of technicality in the band's music also sets them apart from other similar acts, with songs like Scions of Ha Nachash providing listeners with riffing patterns that are not typical in other similarly raw and primitive acts, though it does take some effort in order to hear these elements beneath the chaos that runs above.
The tightness of the band is obvious on Through the Cervix of Hawaah, and the album also displays a marked growth in the band's abilities in songwriting and as musicians, making this album being one that contains some of the best material that Antediluvian has released so far.
Because Mitochondrion wasn't enough, Canada has unleashed yet another epoch of guttural clamor upon the unsuspecting with the advent of Antediluvian. A band which has, in its brief five year existence, managed to open some yawning portal to the beyond, and have its members' minds massaged and supplanted with the tendrils of extra-dimensional abominations with whom direct visual contact would drive even the most hardened and resolute mortal insane. You can see this in the abstraction of the cover artwork, but perhaps more glaringly in the oozing, unhallowed compositions which 'grace' their first proper full-length Through the Cervix of Hawaah, one of the more oily and appreciably disgusting efforts to emerge beneath the banner of the maple leaf in some years.
I've on occasion used the term 'cavern core' to describe this modern sort of crushingly guttural old school exaltation, but I'll be frank: no subterranean space could contain Antediluvian for very long. This is copious, lurching and primordial death metal which resonates as much at a faster pace as it does at the snail-like, expected speed, and the Canadians are also mindful of the actual presence of 'riffs'. Not to just down-tune the guitars and play random sequences of chords and tremolo notes, but actually try to draw the ear towards less predictable patterns. I cannot claim to have found a great number of note progressions here that piqued my interest over the long term, but I laud the fact that they at least tried. More resonant with me were the vocals, which are dour and brutal enough at their most simplistic, but often stretched into these creepy and unfathomable, sustained passages as one will find in the depths of the title track. In other places, they'll back up the central growling with a second, decrepit vocal that makes the listener feel like two Elder Gods are fighting over his/her bones before they've even supped on his/her flesh.
It's highly unnerving, and that word more than any other best sums up this recording. Certainly, Antediluvian offer one of the most bowel rupturing, uncomfortable brands of experimental death metal out there, but I must also point out that there is a good deal of variation to be found on Through the Cervix of Hawaah. From the incendiary blasting of "Luminous Harvest" or "Gomorrah Entity (Perversion Reborn)" to the ambient indoctrination of "Turquoise Infidel" to the shivering post-operative feedback and battering of "Erect Reflection (Abyss of Organic Matter)", no two tracks are precisely alike. Hell, they even take a sudden and unexpected turn towards warmer, cyclic melodies in the bridge of "Scions of Ha Nachash (Spectre of the Burning Valley)", perhaps the most forgiving piece on the album. It's quite a trip, and the descriptive, disturbing Biblical inversion of the lyrics make for an appropriate, squamous companion to the tremulous, turbulent songwriting.
The one potential drawback to this work is simply that it's another of those albums you are more prone to 'experience' than shatter into its constituents and party hard to with your headbanging friends. Your girlfriend is not going to slip this onto her iPod (and if she is, all the power to you). You're not going to find an "Enter Sandman"or "Breaking the Law" anywhere within a thousand miles of this, and in fact there are very few individual guitar lines I could even point towards as 'hey, check THIS out' material. As someone who has traditionally favored the guitar driven metal album for decades over those more abstract and artsy sorts, I find that I need to be in a certain head space to wrap myself around this. It's not perfect, but then it's only the first album...
But that aside, Through the Cervix of Hawaah is one such trip worth taking, a surreal deconstruction of religious symbolism and a slovenly, tunneling anathema to the premise of jock-death prowess, polish and technology. Some Shoggoth's dinner escaped its plate and found its way to Profound Lore Records, so if your various poisons include Portal, Demilich, Incantation and Mitochondrion, grab a spork and have at it.
From the root
There sprouts a fiery asp
Winged seraph branch
Scions of Ha-Nachash
Tendrils of smoke
Ascend from Zaphon
Sheol stirs under feet of giants
In the streets
They bind on sackcloth
On the housetops
And in the squares
Everyone wails and melts in tears.
- "Scions of Ha Nachash (Spectre of the Burning Valley)"
"Through The Cervix of Hawaah" is the sound of an atavistic eruption, the overthrow of God's dominion by the monstrous primeval forces spawned at its very birth. The castings-off of Creation and its aftermath, they walked the earth as the giants, monsters, and outsider gods of the Old Testament until the divine patriarch banished them from the surface of things. They've lurked on the margins as the repressed subconscious of our world, and now Antediluvian calls them storming up from the depths. This album is the sound of the Abrahamic sickness collapsing back into its own obscured origin.
And how does that sound? This album is the fruition of everything that Morbid Angel and Blasphemy were working towards: the true sound of Chaos. Antediluvian temper pure disorder with mighty craft, shaping molten streams of tremolo picking into forms that develop according to their own twisted half-logic, unconstrained by any external formulas of songwriting. This music is organismic, pulsating with lust and uncoiling like a serpent with a thousand heads. It feels completely spontaneous, as though it flowed from the earth through the fingers through the instruments, bypassing the mind, and yet each song is clearly a through-composed work of staggering sophistication. The guitarists develop micro-riffs into lengthy melodies that twist and turn unpredictably, while the drummer leads them through a maze of morphing time signatures. And yet they never break the ceaseless flow of riffing. There's always a pulse, always a drive, none of the stop-start technical death metal nonsense.
That sense of flow is just one way in which Antediluvian remain completely faithful to the formal fundamentals of war metal, even as they expand the style's horizons. Their merciless attack riffs, such as those leading into "Scions of Ha Nachash" and "Erect Reflection," are baroque elaborations on the basic ideas of fellow Invictus bands like Diocletian and Witchcrist. Their occasional slower passages owe a lot to Morbid Angel and Bolt Thrower. The single catchiest moment on the album, and one of the heaviest, belongs to the latter category--just over a minute into "Luminous Harvest" they drop into a sinuous breakdown that Trey Azagthoth wishes he wrote. But of course, Antediluvian's drummer is every bit as important to this album as the string players. Despite his great technical ability he has rigorously restricted his range of techniques, forcing him to get creative with hammering blastbeats and cool cymbal accents. When the tempo slows, his rumbling salvos of toms and double-bass remind me of the flamboyant skin-bashing on Axis of Advance's "Strike."
Despite being steeped in the spirit and sound of bestial black/death sonic warfare, "Through The Cervix of Hawaah" revolutionizes the sub-genre and carves out new passages for extreme metal as a whole. But this blend of faithfulness and adventurousness isn't just some interesting, improbable contrast. Rather, it's essential to why this album is so fucking awesome. This band understands that true innovation isn't about changing the individual tropes comprising a musical style, but about rethinking the approach to songwriting that underlies these gestures. Antediluvian have kept war metal's vocabulary, but given it a new syntax--if you can call it that.
For how can there be a syntax to the goat-song of Dionysus, or the howling of Pan in the woods?
(Reposted from my original review at Trial By Ordeal, www.trialbyordeal666.blogspot.com)
While much of the bands previous work left me either cold or indifferent(refer to my review of Revelations in Excrement), Antediluvian have left me in shock with Through the Cervix of Hawwah: this is a band with a lot more to offer than I first gleaned from their previous, mostly standard work. As cavernous, blasphemous and suffocating as any album released this year, Through the Cervix of Hawwah represents a massive step forward for Antediluvian. The songwriting is much more distinct, the riffs far more complex and the atmosphere is more natural and less forced then it has ever been. No longer can we call these Canadian plague-wielders mere Incantation clones lost in a sea of static, but a band with serious purpose and the chops to see their will be done.
Clearly, the move from a two piece to a four piece band has brought many needed ideas and improved musical chops to Antediluvian, as Through the Cervix of Hawwah is in many ways a style and identity shift for the band. There is a much greater sense of rhythm and tempo then before: where early releases tended to grind on at full speed, we see a desire for ideas to grow and flesh themselves out, without the forced and noisey pace. Through the Cervix is much more deliberate, and it adds a new level of polish and attitude to the bands sound. The mid-paced, head banging intensity of tracks like "Scions Of Ha Nachash (Spectre Of The Burning Valley)" and "Luminous Harvest" blew me away when I first heard them, and were not something I ever expected from this band.
The production on this album was also a big surprise: an even mix, devoid of unnecessary static to force that cavernous sound and drums that sound polished and balanced is another sign of increasing maturity as songwriters. The expanded technical chops on display are also impressive, as the band sound far less primitive. Some may see this as a bad thing, but with so many bands taking that route, it is nice to hear someone doing something a bit different. Which is not say that Through the Cervix has moved into technical death metal territory, but this album has more in common with Portal or Mitochondrion than Innumerable Forms or Putrevore in terms of riffs. In fact, the comparison to Portal is a good one: imagine Portal without all the bullshit and decent production, and you have something close to Through the Cerix, though in truth this album trumps anything Portal have ever done.
I did not expect such maturity, complexity or creativity from Antediluvian, having pegged them for another in a long line of mindlessly over-wrought Incantation worship bands. But Through the Cervix of Hawwah is something to behold; a band growing up right before our eyes. A surefire contender for the top death metal album of 2011, anyone seeking intelligent yet blasphemous death metal should be on the hunt for this surprising gem of this year.
Originally posted at http://curseofthegreatwhiteelephant.blogspot.com/