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REVIEW: Enfold Darkness – “Adversary Omnipotent”

Adversary Omnipotent, the highly anticipated sophomore effort of Nashville’s Enfold Darkness, was released on July 14. It picks up where the band left off with 2009’s Our Cursed Rapture, continuing in their aggressive vein of technical, blackened death metal. It’ll release through Artisan Era.

The album follows a specific concept, fleshed out by the band, themselves. As explained by the band:

“For 100,000 years, Na’ak Ba’ran has dominated the affairs of Et through the Narcillians. It is the age of the king Ik’thran’ithul. Through his communion with the fallen God, the descendants of the Sali’un have been fully dominated.

Out of the total darkness, a child was born under the Sign of the Sun. Im’maud’hi is the last Sali’un, whose destiny is to restore the ancient ways of his people.

As he delves into the mysteries of the ancient gods, the Ultimate Truth is gifted to him. Though, it is not what he had bargained for…”

… Basically, the sort of thematic bromides and dramatic theatricality one can expect from most of today’s tried-and-true technical, extreme metal. Take that for what it is, but it should give you an idea of where Enfold Darkness goes with Adversary Omnipotent in both flavor and execution. However, one would be gravely mistaken if they were to write it off as just more “alien/Lovecraftcore”.

After a brief, obligatory soundscape/intro, the album immediately kicks into high gear with “Lairs of the Ascended Masters”, an excellent pace-setter. While not necessarily one of the better tracks on the album, it sets the expectation effectively as to what the listener will be in for over the course of the next hour. It’s a tune that’s well polished, though still veined with barely-hindered aggression. The stringwork is stunningly crafted, and satisfyingly addresses the stylistic hallmarks of both melodeath and black metal (yes, lots of tremolo). As well, Greg Vance’s drumwork is machine-like in its deliberateness and velocity.

From a purely technical standpoint, Adversary Omnipotent is a truly impressive record. However, it isn’t soullessly so, at least not the entire thing. Several tracks, such as “Liberator of Mages”, make fantastic use of the band’s surprisingly audible vocal style, and tell an enjoyable–if somewhat cheese-laden–story. The band’s attention to melodic detail compliments these narrative elements, and the added effect of multiple backing vocal styles makes that story feel all the more alive. It’s something refreshing, affording several of these songs a surprising amount of replay value and a real “grows-on-you” effect. Sadly, though, this doesn’t hold for some substantial portions of the record.

All in all, Adversary Omnipotent is a forceful, brilliant display of technical, over-the-top musicianship. Its precision, flare for the dramatic, and lack of mundane filler make for an incredibly fat, sixty-seven minute offering that should tickle extreme metal fancies of numerous colors.

Where it falls short is certainly a sense of sterility, and perhaps even some lacking originality. There is hardly anything groundbreaking about Adversary Omnipotent. As well, for an album that gets quite melodic at times, it lacks a lot of memorable hooks, and feels low on exciting or moving moments.

 

Score: 8/10

Notable Tracks: “Liberator of Mages”; “Terror of a Perilous Quest”; “Vanish Into Damnation”

FFO: Bal-Sagoth, The Black Dahlia Murder, Abigail Williams

Follow Enfold Darkness on Facebook and purchase Adversary Omnipotent on BandcampEnfold Darkness merchandise can be purchased here.

 

 

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