Antediluvian – The Divine Punishment Review

Murky death metal is its own breed of obnoxious. Everyone’s contending to be the kings of murkcore, with Portal heading up the pack, while acts like Ævangelist, Altarage, Teitanblood, and myriad others are piling on the slime for maximum murkitude – and maximum sameness. Case in point: when I asked Steel to share The Divine Punishment, he was like, “lol no Kronos has that band.” Turns out, he was thinking of Irish bad boyz Malthusian and not Ontario/Alberta’s maple syrup-in-audio-form Antediluvian. After two full-lengths of murky solidness, does The Divine Punishment live up to its name?

Antediluvian has always been a strange beast. Although undoubtedly akin to the aforementioned hordes of black/death density-meisters, these Oilers1 have always been slickly produced and solidly written. While acts like Grave Upheaval and Altarage are lost at sea murk in swaths of ambiance and distortion, Antediluvian prioritizes a strong tether of percussion to guide it. Behind compelling full-lengths Through the Cervix of Hawaah and λόγος, the third full-length The Divine Punishment offers provocative titles aplenty and disturbing spoken word samples included therein, suffice it to say that Antediluvian‘s sexual style gets under a listener’s skin – penetrating, if you will – and offers some of the best-produced murky black/death this year, even if it has its shortcomings.

The Divine Punishment hopes to aurally manifest the concepts of “carnal deviance” through its knotted display of death metal, and succeed mightily. To flaunt sexual themes is unique but apt, creating a hellishly ritualistic and voyeuristic beast packed to the brim with miasmic riffs, dense dissonance, and subterranean bellows aimed at unease and menace. Tracks like “All Along the Sigils Deep” and “How the Watchers Granted the Humans Sex Magick in the Primordial Aeon” strike stunning balance between brutality and atmosphere, as dense riffs and razor-sharp tremolo grind alongside manic percussion, while synths and effects float atop, while the songwriting ebbs and flows naturally to the smoke-shrouded shrine. Reverb-laden death metal cuts “Guardians of the Liminal” and “The Liar’s Path” offer refreshingly brutal straightforward Abyssal-esque bruisers with blazing cavernous flavors, while “Circumcision Covenant” and “Winged Ascent Unto the Twelve Runed Solar Anus”2 rely on shuddering riffs tinged with synth effects and blackened fury. However, through all the tracks, in spite of how Antediluvian tackles its eleven songs, there is a firmly established percussive backbone, holding its wayward and deviant ways close to its vest.

While the majority of The Divine Punishment deals with its subject matter with grace and subtlety, there are moments when the sexual deviance feels more like watching a surprise sex scene with your parents. “Temple Prostitute” is most guilty of this, as its glitchy intro gives way to a sample of what I can only imagine is a porn scene: altered voices cry out in orgasmic pleasure atop glitchy synth lines, and while the song thereafter ain’t half bad, you’ll always remember it as “that one song with the orgy sounds in it.” “White Throne” fails similarly, that while it’s not necessarily a sex-oriented track, you better buckle in for a detailed, nearly seven-minute, voice-altered lecture of the occult meaning of the number 666. While it fits, it’s dull, and I’m more disturbed by throwbacks to college lectures rather than the creepy mood it attempts to conjure. Otherwise, due to The Divine Punishment‘s massive length, there are simply tracks that don’t stand out compared to the highlights, as opener “Obscene Pornography Manifests in the Divine Universal Consciousness” takes too long to get going, and “Sadomaniacal Katabasis (Last Fuck of the Dying)” is too short to make an impact.

There is a lot to love about The Divine Punishment, and there is also a lot. Clocking in at over an hour, it’s astounding that Antediluvian managed to pack in this much solid stuff, and that it furthermore cements their status as a distinctive voice in the scene. Channeling sexual perversity into the already occult template is a huge gamble, and aside from some seriously eye-rolling samples, the Canadians succeed. But perhaps more impressive is seeing Antediluvian stick to their guns in never allowing murk to overshadow quality, and The Divine Punishment exists as another landmark in letting its freak flag fly. Offering Portal-esque riffs, Tomb Mold cavernousness, and Mitochondrion blackened clarity atop seriously good production is a huge win, even if it may warrant a blush-worthy scene or two in this long-ass movie you don’t want to watch with your parents.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
Websites: antediluvian.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/antediluvian.official
Releases Worldwide: September 1st, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Based in Edmonton currently.
  2. That’s a bit much. – Steel
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