There is a certain style of death metal that I think of, in shorthand fashion, as horrifyingly avant-garde. Some people might prefer the term “progressive”, but I don’t think that word captures the atmosphere of cold, terrifying, otherworldly abomination conveyed by the music. Among current practitioners of this style of death metal, Portal, Mitochondrion, and Dragged Into Sunlight usually come to mind first. Now, I have to add Antediluvian to that list.
Like Portal and fellow Canadians Mitochondrion, Antediluvian are now on the Profound Lore label, which today is officially releasing their debut album (following an assortment of demos, splits, and an EP). It’s a nine-track monstrosity titled Through the Cervix of Hawaah. I’ll try to describe why I like this album, though to be brutally honest, it may be the result of compulsion rather than voluntary choice: After all, when Cthulhu extends his tentacles, few can resist.
When I included Antediluvian in that group which included Portal, Mitochondrion, and DIS, I didn’t mean to imply that the four bands sound alike, and they don’t, but they all succeed in creating a chillingly inhuman atmosphere of dread and catastrophe, in part by employing unusual musical ingredients that aren’t part of the standard stock-in-trade of death metal.
In Antediluvian’s case, the musical mix includes both “conventional” death metal elements and unconventional ingredients, plus remnants of the band’s more black-metal leaning origins. Perhaps most noticeable is the unusual style of drumming. The rhythms are unpredictable, sometimes seeming to be a step or two away from the beat you expect, sometimes almost out of sync with the bass and guitars (though I suspect that’s an aural illusion). The toms are used more frequently than in most death metal, lending the fills a kind of tribal sound (that is, if demonspawn organized themselves into tribes). There are blast beats, but they come sporadically, in bursts, and they sound more remorselessly methodical than as an attempt to break a speed record. Continue reading »