In All Idols Fall Before The Hammer
, Adversarial stamp their name as one of the more intense up and coming death metal bands around. Their style is hard to pinpoint, however, as their debut album shifts gears so much from constant blast beats that give way to vicious guitar playing and double bass fills, that it's difficult to gain any sense of unformity even after several listens all the way through. This isn't necessarily a negative aspect for Adversarial as the changes are tasteful and keep things interesting and far away from stale. Lead vocalist and guitarist C.S. is more than competent in his musical ability as his profoundly low growls and spastic, innovative riffs are arguably the two greatest aspects of the album. His quick and multiple changes from riffs to dynamic clean leads give his playing a virtuosic feel and propels the album to further greatness.
The nihilistic approach C.S. takes with his undecipherable lyricism is correlated well with the muffled and fuzzy production. The album sounds
bleak and hopeless, as if C.S.' distraught thoughts on the meaningless nature of life shines through the music as well. Tempos range from fast to faster for the most part, which is farily immediately apparent on the epic "Thralls" which throws at you everything Adversarial done well in a 6 minute introduction to the band; beginning with the fade in of church bells, the band sets the mood right away for a dark adventure through the underworld. The song almost takes on a black metal undertone, with sizzling guitar riffs that are mixed with screeching, quick solos until the blast beating commences. Adversarial do a great job of sounding heavy and intense without coming off as unoriginal, even if they seem to harken back to various death metal albums before its time.
Unfortunately as great as the vocals and ambitious guitar playing sounds, the production and pacing of drummer E.K's work is sometimes difficult to listen to and keep attention to. The main problem is the snare, where the recording of it sounds very hollow and detracts any sense of atmosphere the album may have. While his constant and pulverizing snare work keeps the album heavy and up tempo, it also at times seems like he hits it just to hit, putting in as many hits as possible in the song's timeframe with no restraint or execution. His bass drum work is fine however and even takes the stage in some segments of the album where all that is heard is an extremely quick double bass fill.
Ironically enough, the album's apparent highlight is when Adversarial decide to slow things down for just a bit and let some fairly remarkable songwriting take over in the crushing instrumental "In A Night Of Endless Pain, War Came To Flood Its Heart..." where C.S. and E.K. finally decide to reduce the mind-numbing bpm and allow the instruments to speak for themselves. The song acts as a peaked middle point of the album, where before and after the track is all raging fury and during is a brooding and fairly simple tune that packs a mean punch. It shows a nice variety of tempo for the band that is all about velocity.
All Idols Fall Before The Hammer
is an excellent debut from an up and coming band that should make some noise in the death metal scene for some years to come. Their bleak and nihilistic approach to the music and lyrics is refreshing to say the least, and their debut is a trigger happy death-fest relying on fast tempos and switched up guitar riffs, all lying underneath C.K's vicious low-end growls. The production could be better but that is something Adversarial will hopefully improve upon on future releases. 3.8/5