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“Adversus” is the debut album from young band, Quadrivium. I know they probably get this a lot, but they really sound like Arcturus from the “Aspera Hiems Symfonia / Constellation” period. And all though I am very keen of this sound, “Adversus” is only a solid effort. One big reason for this is that it really lacks originality.
First of all, the vocalist Lars Jensen (Myrkgrav, Sworn) is a rip off of Bjornar E. Nilsen from Vulture Industries. Especially his clean vocals. You can not even tell the difference between the two. And considering “The Dystopia Journals” came out before “Adversus,” Lars stole the clean vocal style from Bjornar. Both of these two vocalists are mediocre Garm (Arcturus, Ulver) attempts, but at least Bjornar varied it enough from Garm. Lars did not come close to varying his vocals from Bjornar, so he loses a lot of points for the album. His harsh vocals are typical black screams and nothing special. In all, Lars does not do justice for “Adversus.” Luckily, the band acquired Attila Bakos of Descend, and he can really sing (I can’t wait for the next album)!
Keyboards are really trying to copy the ways of Arcturus. A huge problem on this album is the waltz worship. Almost every song is a goddamn waltz (3/4)! It starts to get stale after a while. Imagine “Du Nordavind” by Arcturus absorbing every song on “Aspera” and you have this album.
Guitars also carry the waltz. Nothing real special on this album guitar-wise. They have the majestic feel that Arcturus originally discovered which is kind of cool. Again, stolen from Arcturus.
Drums do not shine here either. The drummer does not even try to compete with Hellhammer from Arcturus, so we have some originality. Unfortunately, he is not exactly good so he is not highlight.
Despite all the problems on this album, and no one actually standing out, it really is not a bad effort. There is one reason for this. The fact that very few bands try to copy Arcturus is the reason. Yeah, this band stole Arcturus’ sound, but is it a bad thing? I love Arcturus, and it is refreshing to hear a band attempting their sound. Yeah, it is not original, but is any heavy metal band original? Is any thrash metal band original? Is any female-fronted goth-rock band original? The answer is no, but because when thousands of bands play a certain sound, it masks the fact that they are not original. Bands like Vulture Industries and Quadrivium take shit for duplicating Arcturus’ sound, but if thousands of bands were doing it no one would point it out.
Anyway, the best song here is “Svartamaal” in my opinion. It is set in ¾ with creepy keyboards and Lars’ vocals are almost Garm-like here. Another good one is the opening track, “A Sophic Fire.” Drums are somewhat likeable here with great double bass. Lars sounds exactly like Bjornar and I really had to check the credits multiple times to make sure it was not Bjornar.
I recommend “Adversus” to all desperate Arcturus fans like me that want to hear other bands attempting the classic sound.