Adamus Exul - _Arsenic Idols_
(Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (9 out of 10)
This sort of highly Satanic, orthodox-sounding, hyper-speed, take-no-prisoners black metal is something we would have expected a label such as Daemon Worship Productions to be releasing; in addition, there's this almost monochromatic John Milton's "Paradise Lost"-like illustration on the cover that very much corresponds with the artwork many of the aforementioned label's releases carry: occult, Satanic, mythical, black-white-red or black-with-golden painted covers. ATMF (Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum) is, on the other hand, more preoccupied with the so-called avantgarde side of black metal, although not exclusively.

Adamus Exul are Australian; and Australian bands never follow rules. They always hold that joker up their sleeve and draw it whenever they feel like doing so, rendering their music, in any given style of metal, inherently avantgarde and essentially removed from everything that's out there. So by definition, Australian bands can never be too orthodox; the same goes for Adamus Exul.

To call _Arsenic Idols_ black metal would be an underestimation of this album. On the outside, it is one violent and unrelenting motherfucker with everything a black metal fanatic should love in his orthodox black metal, and we won't mention the usual clich├ęs. However, underneath this wall of anger and hate, mascara and face paint, lie undercurrents of immensely beautiful melodic tunes and layers upon layers of exquisite emotions.

Occasionally the music slows down, gives way to some radical rhythm change, and when things slow down a bit we witness the advent of pure sensation, which is the manifestation of hate, pain, love, passion, tragedy and elation -- all expressed in this single, magical sensation the music sparks into being. Beyond the phenomenal instrument handling, there lie the mesmerizing riffs that cut you up with how beautifully tragic and sad they are; the spellbinding note progression on every riff, that make your heart want to explode with sheer joy of being transcended, becoming aloof.

_Arsenic Idols_ could be easily wrongly judged and mistakenly taken for granted, for being yet another product associated with the most popular and crowded style of heavy metal in existence, that is to say black metal. But make no mistakes, because this album needs your full attention and a considerably decent stereo system / headphones to fully understand and enjoy its hostile sounds, otherwise it really is going to sound like another valueless extra in the never ending theater play that is black metal. One could easily dismiss all the nuances and gentle, half-buried melodies; miss all the intricacy of the compositions and the emotional burden they carry and emanate, when taking this album for granted or trying to listen to its music on a less than the optimal equipment and/or in a state of mind that is not fully engaged into the 'black metal mode'.

Don't let the obliterating blasts mask all the finesse hiding in the shadows; even the drumming is not that linear and straightforward, as it follows the rules of chaos and alternates between total madness and the velocity of doom, with a variety of rhythms in between, and in truth, the battery is the dynamic force that pushes everything forward, with the ferocity of a grindcore band and the intricacy of a progressive metal band.

And thus, the explicit vitriol that's on display maneuvers between a running amok frenzy and the somberness of a dark/doom manifesto, which expresses a myriad of sentiments and aesthetics, a barrage of emotions and an attitude of an ADHD-afflicted adolescent who's been blessed/cursed with both high intelligence and the desire to see the world burn to ashes.

Is _Arsenic Idols_ the future of black metal? Who are we to say? We can surely say it is the here and now of this art -- its new golden standard -- taken to the crest of its expressive powers; slightly experimental but mostly a display of calculated violence, hatred and disgust towards humanity (can someone really blame them?!), this album is reserved for the elite, mature, intelligent hordes who really like to have a sink for their destructive desires before they go and fucking break someone's face, shoot themselves in the mouth or explode the fucking world to bits and pieces.

Malignancy and malice have found a new home for their vile inspirations, in the form of this album; and it walks hand in hand with whatever Adamus Exul's North American brethren Nightbringer have been releasing in the passing few years: enigma feeding off violence, violence feeding off enigma, in what seems like a never ending circle of might, spirituality, dark emotions, esoterica and animosity galore. You need this album, regardless of the fact this album does not need you.


(article published 2/5/2015)

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