Greece is quite the influential hotbed for black metal. Whether it’s the progressive stylings of Zemial, the symphonic bludgeoning of Septicflesh, or Rotting Christ‘s ability to make me feel like I’m Kratos with their epic songcraft, Greece has churned out some pretty incredible music over the last few decades [And don’t forget Nightfall. – Steel Druhm]. After one album and a few splits, Kult of Taurus arrives with Adversarial Paths: The Sinister Essence, hoping to join their brethren in the pits of Hades, and they have gloriously succeeded in their path to unholy greatness…
…before stopping the elevator on the top floor heading down, chilling with the jaywalkers, people who shoplifted penny candy, and those poor souls who were caught cutting the tags off their mattresses in their mortal lives. Proper opener “Black Embrace” ironically sounds a bit like The Karelian Isthmus-era Amorphis in its doomy-deathy dirge only with less interesting riffs, with Hellscum’s drumming being the only real interesting tidbit besides Sarpedon’s more death metal growling. There are some interesting cymbal flourishes and steady double bass, but then the song changes up to more of a groove-oriented, almost Sepultura-on-downers feel. Sarpedon goes crazier with the howling and the volume on Hellscum’s bass drums almost doubles, leaving me very disoriented, and not in a good way. And then it changes again in the final third of the song before going back to that opening riff again.
And that’s a huge problem I have with Adversarial Paths. There are so many odd change-ups in each song, and I don’t mean “cool curveballs,” either. If you had told me this was a debut album from a young band, I would have believed you. It doesn’t help that there is very little in terms of memorable riffs going on in the whole album, with the melodic riff 1:30 into “Edafio I” being a major exception. In fact, “Through Lunar Wombs” would be the standout on here as it’s the only full track that held my attention, and it even has some interesting bass parts by Platon and cool atmospheric guitar melodies by Bile and Sythanagon.
Also not helping things is the production. It’s blaringly inconsistent. You have warm bass and guitars, but the drums are either too loud (the aforementioned part in “Black Embrace”) or the snare is soft enough to sound like it’s being played under several pillows (:58-1:27 of “Vibrating Crossroads”). The real killer, however, is with the songwriting. Until now, I’ve not heard an album that made 46 minutes feel like an hour and a half. That’s not good, folks, and I’ve spent over a week with Adversarial Paths. Also, I can’t really recommend a band that has just cool parts of songs. That’s like going to your favorite restaurant and ordering favorite parts of different meals.
But still I have a hunch that Kult of Taurus could have something up their sleeves. I want them to share elbow room in the Lower Depths with their idols, and not just merely changing Cerberus’s three water bowls while waiting for the elevator to be fixed. Unfortunately, Adversarial Paths doesn’t hit like it should. Maybe the next go-around, guys.