Review – Adversarial: All Idols Fall Before the Hammer

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  • Bio: n/a
  • Label: Dark Descent Records
  • Release Date: August 15th, 2010
  • Genre: Black Metal, Death Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Adversarial is a Canadian Death Metal that formed back in 2007. Since the band formed, they put out only one demo recording, entitled Thralls, in 2008, prior to being signed with Dark Descent Records in 2010. All Idols Fall Before the Hammer marks the band’s debut full-length offering, and aside some odd production qualities, this heavy, dark, and deep sounding Slam-based Death Metal full-length packs some great material into it, but, sadly, at a demo cassette recording level.

While the album doesn’t have anything wrong with it musically, All Idols Fall Before the Hammer does have its noticeable faults. While the first fault really isn’t all that intrusive on the album, being that it’s simply various bells and chimes, probably church bells, ringing prior to the start of the song “Churning the Storm”. Sadly, these bells don’t really do much but set the production quality of the album, and even then it’s not done well as these bells seem to have a better quality than the music does. The production of the album is pretty rough, having a very raw quality to it, which, in this case, isn’t too bad considering how deep the music being played sounds in the first place, and the constant blast beats make for a nice sound of brutality to the mix, which is accompanied by deep guttural vocals that, in some, reflect that of the approach to the vocals of Mortician. However, this production does plague the drums, as they sound horrible, both in execution and production.

It’s clear that however the band recorded the drums, someone didn’t quite know what they were doing. The volume levels of the kit are so screwy that certain parts of the kit appear to various waves of volume on the recording, but almost consecutively, as if the higher parts of the kit are further in the background, but the volume increases the closer to the bottom of the kit it goes. The drums themselves also sound horrible. The cymbals sound horrible at times, with the only exception being during “In a Night of Endless Pain, War Came to Flood His Heart…”, an instrumental that focuses more on that aspect of the kit then anything else. The main reason why this track works out better is because the other odd sounding drums wind up not causing them to either be blocked out entirely, or somehow making them sometimes sound washed out. On top of that, some of the snares on here sound atrocious, such as someone pounding on a pot obnoxiously, which is clearly just a snare with bad levels too close to the microphone, as well as what sounds like the drummer just hitting a block of wood, adding absolutely nothing to the final mix when it’s hit. However, the only real fault of the drummer’s comes thanks to this quality as well. Due to the higher quality of the portions of the kit that are hit religiously for the blast beats through the album, you can hear when the drumming goes off beat, as well as when they are hit harder, or much softer, during the blast beat. This is first noticed on “Churning the Storm”, but also appears throughout the album. During any non-Blast Beat moment, however, the drumming is precise and always on the same key outside of the varying volume levels from the production quality.

Outside the technical issues, the album is not that bad at all. The lower instruments aid in creating a very dark atmosphere for the album, which is slightly offset due to what could honestly be described as drum tracks recorded at a different studio entirely. Luckily, most of the kit is at the right volume, it’s just that certain parts aren’t, and when the lower volume elements come in, it sounds great. The only other complaint would be that the overall volume could have been a little louder and clearer. But, with all of that being said, there are some good songs on here, like “Scourge of a World Ablaze”, which has some nice riffs through the song, especially near the end, that make it stand out a little more, even if the ending of the song winds up being cut off slightly with dead air left to fill the gap. The instrumental “In a Night of Endless Pain, War Came to Flood His Head” was a well done song that, while not jaw dropping, really showed the band as a whole through material that actually sound alright through the recording quality. The title track, “All Idols Fall Before the Hammer”, also makes for a very intense and brutal sounding song that really utilized the raw atmosphere of the recording nicely, offering some great changes to the traditional blast beat formula played by the band.

AkerbeltBut, that becomes a whole other gripe in itself. Due to the higher volume levels on the drum kit, you sometimes cannot hear the guitar over them. This leads to the main issue of repetition. Unless you have this album cranked to a high level, or you are paying a close enough attention level that it would be considered insane, then chances are good the blast beats that happen throughout here will start to sound more and more alike as you continue through the CD, leaving the closing track “…In Black Vault’s of a Death God” to suffer by the attention span of the listener, maybe not on the first playthrough, but in future attempts to listen to the album.

In the long run, All Idols Fall Before the Hammer shows great promise from this up and coming Death Metal act. Musically, it’s strong, but due to the production issues of the release, one will have to pay closer attention then normal to hear them. Had the drumming volumes been a little better, much of what is wrong with this release would have been easily cleared up. The blast beat section clearly would have a little more noticeable variety due to the guitars being more predominant in the mix, and the sounds of the snares wouldn’t sound as bad as hitting pots or a block of wood. Hopefully the band will do things a little differently. Until then, All Idols Fall Before the Hammer makes for a decent debut album.

AkerbeltDigital review copy of this release provided by BlackSeed Productions.