While Scandinavian countries were busy coming up with cold and bleak black metal throughout the 80s and 90s, something else was brewing in the Canadian underground, a more violent and abrasive form of black metal with pioneers Blasphemy. Thereafter, bands such as Revenge and Conqueror have continued spreading the plague through ear-raping war metal. Antediluvian joins the ranks of such bands, with Watcher’s Reign being a compilation of materials between 2006 and 2007.
Watcher’s Reign begin with the very first recordings of Antediluvian, with the first 5 tracks taken from the Primeval Cyclical Catastrophism demo in 2006. Serpent of Thy Grail begins with a disturbing background noise before the duo behind the band begins with the onslaught, an extremely muffled guitar riff laying down the foundations that the chaos that is to come is built on. The buzzing guitar tone that is so characteristic bands playing the Canadian style of black metal such as Black Witchery is unmistakable, instantaneously leading the listener to identify and categorise the band.
Besides the speed that the band travels at, Mars-Sekhmet also pounds on the drums relentlessly, almost as if he had a vengeance against the drum set, unleashing whatever fury he has on it. The monstrous gargling growls and seemingly directionless guitar lines of Haasiophis complement the punishing drums, satisfying any listener that is in need of a bout of violence. Guitar leads are few, and when there are any at all they are equally (if not more) chaotic then the rest of the instruments (think Revenge), such as on The Pit of Bones. The vocals are also inconsistently mixed, alternating between loudness and softness, further adding to the chaos. The songs also end as suddenly as they begain, such as the opening track Serpent of Thy Grail, leaving a path of destruction behind it and a listener still scratching his head, wondering what just happened.
Songs such as Desert Succubus, and the moment during the transition to The Pit of Bones provide listeners with a short break in the middle, allowing listeners just enough time to catch a single breath before beginning their aural assault once more. Yet these moments are rare, and even then the atmosphere is so heavy that it almost feels as if something were pressing on one’s chest, making an action as natural as breathing suddenly seem so unnatural.
As the record progresses and the later demos are presented, one can easily track and notice the progress of Antediluvian. On tracks 6-7, taken from the split with Nuclearhammer, the improved production quality is easily observed, along with Haasiophis’ shift in vocal styles, less of a growl yet more vile and violent than before, and an echoey effect was also utilised. There is also a slight change in the songwriting, as evident from the slowdown in the overall tempo and speed of the music, though the heaviness and the darkness of the atmosphere is retained. The improvement in production quality is nothing to complain about though as it remains sufficiently raw for the style of music, though the primitive production on the first 5 tracks certainly caught my attention more with the raw energy exploding from the band.
The last 3 tracks sees the band going back to yet another demo, Prehistorik Khaos and all that has to be said about these tracks are self-explanatory by the title of the release. Haasiophis goes back to a low growl once more, and the familiar heavy hitting on the drums once more greet the listener. The guitar gets more air time this time though, with schizo-sounding leads littered throughout the tracks, ensuring that the listeners stay insane until the end of the songs.
This is war metal as dirty as it can get, and sufficiently allows fans of such genre to track the progress of the band, quenching their thirst for blasphemous rage and violence.
Antediluvian on the internet: