Few could argue that the current Italian extreme metal scene is in poor health. Synthesizing a mixture of brutality and technicality to topple all manner of Renaissance genius, a cornucopia of bands have thundered from the woodwork in the last decade or so to propagate their brand of air-tight demolition. That said, as much as I love a good aural beating, I also require a pinch of musicality to help differentiate from the faceless hordes. Hideous Divinity, a band whose lineup includes current and former members of Aborted and Hour of Penance, have occasionally toed a fine line for me; I enjoyed their previous, and much lauded, release Cobra Verde quite a bit, but periodically found myself suffering through what felt like extremity for extremity’s sake. Now, third long-player Adveniens descends to crush its prey under atomic weight and perhaps even improve upon the carnage left in its predecessor’s wake.
I’ll cut to the chase – Adveniens is now the definitive record in Hideous Divinity‘s, albeit brief, discography. It consistently and insistently betters its siblings with improved songwriting and notable growth. While still laser-like in its delivery, the material now wields a distinctly malign intensity, which deftly underpins the rigid heaviness. “Ages Die” blasts the storm doors with a battering salvo of brutal death metal before slipping into some exotic chord progressions that would make Nile proud. It’s in the song’s last act that it finds its peak, dropping the sheer speed for undulating trem-picked sequences and flirting with an Eastern atmosphere. It seems that a band reap their most creative rewards when they begin exploring alternative pacing – something Adveniens subtly experiments with. While still undeniably merciless, the sporadic flourishes of more deliberate riff work firmly etch the songs into memory.
“Sub Specie Aeternitatis” brazenly scatters moments of intermittent blunt force into its propulsive framework. Guitarist and band stalwart Enrico Schettino even manages to splice an off-kilter, alien solo, whose ultrasonics are sure to alert slumbering Bob Vignas the world over. While “Passages” sports the record’s most headbangable riffs with percussive gallops worryingly vice-like in their grip, not every song is so distinct. The real question here is one of immediacy – “Angel of Revolution” is monstrous, but is obscured by the charisma of a song like “When Flesh Unfolds,” which opts for surgical precision and Adveniens‘ most indelible chorus. Vocalist Enrico H. Di Lorenzo infiltrates the record with a broad, dry bark, but it’s his use of a more gruesome higher pitch that serves the material well, rasping the track’s refrain over hugely rhythmic vocal patterns. Unfortunately, when one song has been so engineered for memorability, it can’t help but overshadow the denser cuts, despite them being qualitatively equal. Speaking of qualitative, the record’s final moment, Sinister‘s “Embodiment of Chaos,” feels somewhat extraneous – a good cover of a great song by a legendary band, but its inclusion in the main track listing, rather than as a bonus feature, comes off feeling surplus to requirements. Particularly as “Future in Red” is such a natural closer, compounding the end of the album with a pinnacle of moody tremolos, hive-like and swarming, in their final throes.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by one Stefano Morabito, Adveniens is, unsurprisingly, gravitational in its compression. Although expected, it’s always a shame when such well executed music is denied the opportunity to be so deservedly enhanced by airier dynamics. The only real benefit of the fatigue fiend is Giulio Galati’s drumming, which effortlessly builds a percussive foundation that swells through any gap left by the guitars, with runs and fills aplenty. His continuous terrorizing of the kick drum demands each song progress, providing more than just a bonding agent for the riffs.
Hideous Divinity are a band of gluttons, voraciously gorging on silence and replacing every mute morsel with a ravenous tumult. Insatiable in its appetites and never satisfied with pre-established boundaries, Adveniens represents a new milestone for the band. Despite some tracks standing taller than others, each are abjectly terrifying and, perhaps for the first time, Hideous Divinity is now a whole greater than the sum of its parts. If you are an individual that prefers their music skull-faced and grimacing, with a body bloated with riffs, then make sure to give Adveniens the acknowledgement it deserves, before its thick corpulence darkens the sun.