The good gentlemen in Adversarial go by M.M., E.K., and C.S., and no, I don't know which is which. Credit: Courtesy the band's Facebook page

I first encountered Adversarial when I wrote about a split with fellow Canadian band Antediluvian that they’d released on Nuclear War Now! in 2012. I described Antediluvian’s sound as “prehistoric, evil, and incomprehensible,” adding that it gave the overall impression of “a furiously stampeding mudslide of teeth and offal that’s not quite contained by the hastily excavated trench with which the good townspeople hoped to divert it away from the Christian children’s home.” 

At the time, I wasn’t as impressed with Adversarial, but I’m revising that opinion now that I’ve heard their new album, Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism, which comes out tomorrow. The whole thing is today’s 12 O’Clock Track.

Adversarial don’t so much take Antediluvian’s “crawling chaos” route. They call their music “nihilistic warrior cult death metal”—a multiply redundant handle if I’ve ever seen one—and it’s maniacally, teeth-grittingly focused, its regimented aggression locked in an unwinnable but perfectly matched battle with its wild gusts of obliterated noise. Layers of rapid-fire guitar ratchet and twist past each other, their precise contortions producing spasms and shivers of queasy dissonance. The vocals might as well be somebody trying to throttle up a jet engine under five feet of mud, and the rhythm section sounds like leaning your head against the ventilated barrel jacket of a Vickers machine gun. If the world ends in an all-out shooting war against slithering hordes of shape-shifting extradimensional abominations, these guys are definitely gonna die with their stompin’ boots on.

Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism is Adversarial’s second full-length, after 2010’s All Idols Fall Before the Hammer, and it’s being released by top-notch Colorado label Dark Descent, which has also put out records by Horrendous, Crypt Sermon, Phobocosm, Thantifaxath, and Mitochondrion.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.