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Antediluvian - The Divine Punishment - 25%

Broekeman, July 20th, 2022
Written based on this version: 2021, Digital, Nuclear War Now! Productions (Bandcamp)

Antediluvian have finally released their third full-length album, “The Divine Punishment”. It has been a long wait for those who enjoy this obscure mixture of death and black metal. So, after 8 years of waiting, what’s in store? If you have seen the score, you might already know that my expectations were… well, not quite met. More than halfway through the opener (after sitting through a loooooong intro) I started to wonder if this might just be a collection of demo riffs, or some sort of joke altogether. Upon each incremental listening, I couldn’t get rid of this feeling. I’m sorry to say that this band, which I had very high hopes for, released an abomination of an album.

The first thing that struck me was the production: the drumkit has seemingly been replaced by three buckets, played in a basement and recorded from outside the building. The guitars have been muffled, de-crunched and stripped of tone – especially the low end. The only thing standing out are the vocals, that clearly are brought more to the listener’s attention.

Riffing and song-structure definitely has worsened. Annoyingly long songs, filled with riffs that seem to be thought up by a black-metal band consisting of 16-year olds with a repertoire consisting of the 2 albums they heard, ditto playing skills, and an overactive, autistic kid hitting on buckets, repeating the same pattern for the majority of the songs. This becomes VERY tedious and boring VERY quickly. Now, imagine that over a total length of 1 hour. The songs sound like they have been slapped together from parts that don’t match in any way, shape or form . To top it all off, the abundance of sampling doesn’t really help. There are some great sections here and there, but too sparingly. Two redeeming tracks are “Sadomaniacal Katabasis” and “Circumcision Covenant” in which the maelstrom of chaos and horror seems to work and where I finally recognized the band in good form. Typically, the first lasts for only 1:11 minutes… and the second isn’t free of annoying voice-samples, a laughable refrain and a terrible outro.

Some form of Darkspace/Catacombs worship has seemed to creep in, their trademark being the howling, echo-filled lead-guitars. A good idea to copy, but unfortunately… it doesn't work here. Poorly executed, unnecessarily long and at times just resembling random wanking on the guitar - listen to “All Along the Sigils Deep”, the latter half of “How the Watchers Granted the Humans Sex Magick in the Primordial Aeon” (that's a song name to forget quickly), “Tamasic Masturbation Ritual” and the closer (something with “Solar Anus” - yeah, you read that right) and you’ll know what I mean. Worst offender: “Guardians of the Liminal” with that horrible emo midsection.

And then, out of the blue, there comes “White Throne” in which we get almost 7 minutes of some sort of numerology worhsip, presented with some sort of distorted voice-over. What the hell? And why has this sexual theme crept in the lyrics and song-titles? Pornography here, sex magick there, prostitude this, solar anus that… as if the rest wasn’t disappointing enough in itself.

Concluding: poor riffing, poor song-structure, poor execution, overstretched songs and an abundance of annoying sampling makes for a turd of an album. This isn’t obscure, evil, thought-invoking or twisted – it’s pathetic and laughable.

All Along the Sigils Deep - 85%

Nattskog7, April 30th, 2022
Written based on this version: 2021, Cassette, Nuclear War Now! Productions

Droning sounds strike in with a simple and unsettling ambience, primal yet evocative. Marching drums and distorted vocals along with drawn out guitars build a monstrous tension, growing and warping with mightily foul reverberations, signalling that total devastation lies ahead. The behemoth drums pummel in a tribal fashion betwixt lurking guitars to a more ethereal guitars, counting down to obliteration. The bestial rampage of visceral instrumental violence and barbarian vocals soon delivers total carnage in pure tormenting fashion with no remorse. The ghastly stringed reverberations are shaken by pulverising drums in a way that only magnifies the vocal incantations while working as a unit to create an oppressive and unwieldy ambience with that old Canadian black-death Metal attack that is the rarely matched in pure violent spirit. Contorting bass lines dance around the guitars, giving a far more expansive feel than many of Antediluvian’s contemporaries, for after all, this creation is very difficult to compare to another. Funereal marches and war-torn shelling deliver as little respite as each other with unrepentant and truly defiant soundscapes bounding off of each other in something that could be describe as an abyssal dance.

The undefined nature of whatever perverse progressions occur throughout this record makes for perhaps some of the most volatile music you will ever hear. The bestial black metal and striking death metal extremity has so much discourse and mayhem surrounding the more traditional elements, it would be easy for this album to incur some form of lapse in psyche as the daunting music, punishing as it is, tempts you with tendrils of barbarity and juxtaposed sonic intricacies. With a name like Antediluvian, new listeners can take warning of such foul apparitions to occur, as the name invokes images of something ancient and mysterious yet of enormous magnitude that will lie in slumber until its awakening unleashes something indescribable. Naturally, anything by this band will never be an easy listen, which rings true here as much as ever. A firestorm of unpleasant, invasive and cruel soundscapes conjure deathly images in the mind with torturous and excellent results. Definitely we see a case of something created for the few and not the many, though likely with the intent of merely satisfying the musicians without regard for mass appeal. In this, we see them achieve a lucid hypnosis that is nightmarish and yet inescapably tempting with its heavily layered and intriguing sounds. Potent is the theme of sexual magic and release, which is present throughout the album. Ritualistic desire and perversities are contorted into such inhuman yet primitively ecstatic forms on this release, that it feels like a rite in its own right. Primordial lust, carnal desire, those ancient impulses are granted, unbound and exposes in their full glory here.

Lurching, spasming instruments give way to chanting and invocations of death with malicious blasting drums and cascades of sadistic riffs opening portals of infinite depth before springing into something almost resplendent before the chaos and demented extremity chokes all light once more. “Near-death experiences (NDEs) are complex subjective experiences, which have been previously associated with the psychedelic experience and more specifically with the experience induced by the potent serotonergic, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT).”1. This hypothesis could perhaps give some insight into what listening to this album feels like, though of course I believe experiences will differ almost entirely from person to person, which is part of what makes this such an interesting listen. Revisits to this album will likely yield hugely varied experience dependent on local and personal factors while the core of the music retains the primal and morbid spirit that black and death Metal will never shake while done properly. The beings of the darkness call through this vibrant opus and will reach out to those with a receptive mind, so listen with caution but expect greatness for those ready to truly appreciate such finesse and expansion. Or enjoy it for the crushing sound and remarkable delivery, the choice is yours. Either way, this is an unforgettable and magnificent black/death metal album that cannot be missed.

An otherworldly yet firmly grounded listen of pure unrelenting Black-Death Metal obliteration. Sincere and unapologetic in all of its death-worshipping glory, this is not an album for the meek or uncertain as it will destroy such weaknesses with pleasure. This is a soundtrack to descent, rebirth and personal synthesis with the darkness. Expansive is a word that has to be redefined upon listening to this triumphant piece of artistry, as this takes ritualistic and scathing music into new territories without totally casting asunder the ways of old, ensuring that while carving its own path, this remains a black/death metal record at the end of the day, if one like no other.

Written for www.nattskog,wordpress.com

Primal, Unhinged, Antediluvian. - 95%

InTheShadowOfAThousandBeans, April 6th, 2022

As a (regretfully) new listener and now a fan of Antediluvian, going blind into their new release without prior knowledge of their previous work, I can say with utmost honesty that it was not an easy one to get into, relistening the previous works after "The Divine Punishment" I now understand clearly that back then, I was simply not prepared for what Antediluvian had to offer with their music.

The ominous group from Canada has been on a fairly long hiatus since their previous full length "λόγος", there have been occasional splits and compilations in the span of 8 years but not a full length in sight, the magnitude of the comeback however makes up for all those years as "The Divine Punishment" is the band's most complex and finished work to date. In terms of the overall sound, mix and style, Antediluvian seems to be perfectly content with where they last left off, and the band's trademark "primal", or "cavernous" if you will, sound is still immediately recognizable, the main change however is not the sound, but the compositions and structure of the album and the tracks. Both the debut album and its successor share a lot in common, the main thing however is that they were relatively short and densely packed with intensity, they both almost felt more like track compilations, because a lot of individual tracks lacked distinct features and felt more or less repetitive overall, that's where the band's new offering shines the most, as it addresses most if not all of the weaker elements of its predecessors, improves on them and expands even further beyond.

"The Divine Punishment" as a whole feels a lot more like a conceptual, finished product, there are more intros, interludes, outros and soundscapes as well as some narration that are all much needed to create a more dark and ominous atmosphere that the band clearly is going for, and they also act as a breather in this over an hour long slab of dizzying, wild and unfiltered death metal insanity. Speaking of which, the music of Antediluvian is... difficult to describe. It's both one of the most unique yet inaccessible death metal I've ever heard. From basically the very first recordings, the band goes out of their way to create a truly uncompromised, primal and obscure sound, and that is not an exaggeration. But what makes the music of Antediluvian what it is? The low, inhuman vocals spewing perversions with each growl, grunt, shout and scream uttered are unique on their own and definitely fit the overall esthetic of the band splendidly, but they're not something you've never heard before, or the incredibly angular, unpredictive, dizzying and at time extremely out of place riffing is also not as extraordinary with bands such as Portal or Ævangelist or the more recent Qrixkuor and many other dissonant acts that are also known for it already; it's the drums that play the main role in the madness that Antediluvian unfolds upon the listener brave enough to delve into sonic terror annihilating all senses (as well as the production, but more on that later). You won't hear your typical blast beat or double pedal action here. The uneven and primal drum work on all Antediluvian is relentless, but just like everything else on "The Divine Punishment", it in another element that has been mastered on this release. There is practically not a moment of relief from the technically-primitive frenzied blasting, despite the uniquely obscure and primal-esque esthetic, the stamina and technical abilities showcased by Mars Sekhmet are nothing short of impressive, not only they present one of the most unconventional and innovative usage of drums, they're able to incorporate it into their twisted extraordinary death metal extravaganza and make it into a recognizable style.

On top of all above, "The Divine Punishment" is not afraid to experiment and reach further into the deviant and sickening vortex that Antediluvian created for themselves, as their new work also adds a wide arrange of more or less questionable instruments and effects that only add more layers of discomfort and headache-inducing soundscapes that pulls you in no matter how hard you're trying to escape. Be it a violin section on "Guardians of the Liminal" drenched in a most peculiar atmosphere, with the drums pounding relentlessly filling the low end and psychedelic high pitched effects floating in the high end, or the outro of "Temple of Prostitute" where the some of the most out of place and unusual riffs I've ever heard are accompanied by the crying of women? Babies? Or is it even crying? The whole section is so disturbingly abstract and dreadful that it's hard to even focus to distinquish all the layers of sonic transmission penetrating your cranium like a rusty nail getting deeper with each pound of the drums before the song seemingly ends and transitions into the next song, "Circumcision Covenant" which in itself is equally disorienting and frightening giving no time to rest or think about what just happened two mimutes ago.

I could keep pointing out various examples as there is a abundance of interesting, unique or particularly unsettling sections or tracks that stand out, like "White Throne" which is entirely ambient-narrative, almost 7 minutes wonder into Antideluvian's depraved and wicked world. All of this is exactly what Antediluvian's previous works lacked, without losing a tad of identity of their distinctive atypical style, that is just as uncompromised and honest as the rest of their work despite the huge time gap between releases.

About the production, I'm not a music engineer and don't know any proper terms related to mastering and mixing, but it doesn't take a professional to realize that the production presented on "The Divine Punishment" is unusual at the very least. First of all, it is noticeably "clean" given the kind of music we're talking about; despite the ruthless intensity and dizzying mood of it, no instrument or sound is being drowned by another (unless intentionally). Whether it's the aformentioned low, beastly, cavernous growls, gnarls and other inhuman noises, particularly punchy organic drums which gives them the primal feeling they emanate all the way through, or equally low and howling guitars that are still very well audible even though they may be slightly quieter in the mix than some other instruments. All of this put in contrast with occasional chaotic solos or the violin and psychedelic digital/keyboard effects make the whole experience truly surreal and unpredictive; the entire journey feels like entering a forbidden area, hidden thousand feet in a concrete vault deep inside an expanse of endless labyrinths, hiding ancient texts that contain all knowledge and secrets of ancient civilizations. It's not a particularly pleasant or joyful experience, as the concrete vault and labyrinths may expel a foul stench as they're smeared in excrement and filth, but it is an experience nonetheless, an experience like no other certainly, an experience worth a try for anyone who enjoys indulging in various acts of dark and esoteric arts, as Antediluvian is one of a kind and despite the various comparisons to some old-school death metal acts or some of the better known underground dissonant acts, Antediluvian is undeniably in a league of their own, brewing and drinking their own concoction of lethally addictive and nightmarishly bizarre metal. Enjoy with caution.