ADVERSVM Aion Sitra Ahra – Album Preview
Adversvm launch their exciting debut L.P on May 4th. It is fitting that the day known as ‘Star Wars’ day is the release date for this band’s Anti-stellar ethos to be unleashed on the world.
“Aion Sitra Ahra” is a monstrous, massive sounding collection of powerful blackened doom. The album title is a reference to “the opposite of holy” from Jewish Mythology. This is not where the diabolical themes end either.
Those of you familiar with Dissection may have come across the M.L.O (Misanthropic Luciferian Order) or later known as, Temple of the Black Light (T.O.T.B.L). This is an obscure religious organisation that established in 1995, in Sweden. Taking influence from various ancient ideologies and adopting a belief in a chaos-filled, multi-dimensional universe or as they put it, Chaos-Gnostic Satanism. Consequently, this is not a normal religion (open to debate whether any of them are!).
This belief structure influenced the themes and concepts explored by Dissection across their three L.Ps. Furthermore, Adversvm’s musical landscape is littered with references to similar themes too.
S.B is the lone member that formed Adversvm in 2015. The German Funeral Doom band offer up songs of epic proportions that take the listener on a suffocating journey of despair. The running time is 48 minutes, spread over just six tracks. Due to the individual song lengths, it means they feel like grand movements of a larger whole.
“Anti-Stellar Gnosis To The Acausal Nexus” is the gargantuan opener that clocks in at over 12 minutes. A phantom choir, backed by an oscillating white noise set the initial atmosphere. Before long, guitars and drums explode into a grand, doom-laden slog. This opening track informs the listener of all you need to know about Adversvm. The album boasts a warm, thick and clear production that gives this collection of tracks a sparkle of quality.
S.B’s primary guitar tone is a massive, ‘wall of amps’ type distortion that thrashes out huge chords. Splitting up and then bolstering the verses is a desolate guitar melody that evokes an emotive darkness, a common occurrence across the track and also the album as a whole. Vocally, S.B explores the depths of the aural spectrum that will be beyond me in later years. Sub-gutteral bellows and eerie whispers provide an unsettling combination throughout. As one would expect from a Funeral Doom album, tempos are often into the excruciating territories. Suffocating and inhibiting in nature, the album holds you and beats you mercilessly.
The haunting atmosphere of the album is continued with the second song, “Ps. XIII maledictvm”, another lengthy track of sonic exploration. This has the typical, marching through treacle feel. Musically it has a lot of room and space. Layers of guitars weave in and out to make the key component parts of the song, as the rhythm section plods through a crushing and unrelenting super slo-mo smash. Keyboards gain prominence half way through to provide a subtle and melancholic melody that takes the lead as the band fades away. Following this breakdown, the re-entry of band is led by another soaring guitar lead to help guide the near 10 minute track home.
The rain falls heavily in the background of “Disequilibrium Evokes the Fifth C”, an instrumental track full of sullen melodies and whispered dialogue, accompanied throughout by a meandering, clean guitar. This is really all there is to say about this track. It manages to break the album up, giving you a breather before the smothering recommences. It makes for a more interesting listen on the whole, creating the feeling of an experience.
Up next is the title track, “Aion Sitra Ahra” and is one that brings immediacy through a more up-beat approach. This track has a foreboding air to it, bringing to life the very essence of this opposition of holiness that the song’s title refers to. This is another gargantuan track that never fails to engage due to the development and evolution throughout the tracks course.
The way this song develops is indicative of the band’s approach to songwriting across the album’s entirety. Detail and thought, wide vistas and suffocating atmospheres are abound.
A Golden Thread
What is clear about Adversvm’s style is their sense of power and melody being at its core. There is always a conscious effort to portray melody, often if not always, dark, but always an ever-present trait. The powerful yet simplistic drums provide the backbone for the multi-layered guitars to weave their way into the fabric of each song. The songs are never overloaded and there is sympathy for ensuring a dynamic range is represented. Taking you on a journey of loud and soft, light and dark.
Thematically, as mentioned earlier, the referencing to some concepts related to Temple of the Black Light and other mythologies brings an interesting facet to the experience of the album. It serves to tie the elements together in a golden thread and gives the album a holistic feel in sound, lyrics, themes and aesthetics.
Overall, the album makes for an engaging listen. It’s general darkness and misanthropic, anti-social tones ensure that atmosphere never changes too far from absolute DOOM.