Adversvm – Aion Sitra Ahra (2018) REVIEW

Extreme doom metal often carries with it some amount of work on the part of the listener. Be it patience, the appropriate mood, a psychoactive state or a greater combination of each. Funeral doom is exactly the sort of fringe artistry that a very select few fans can easily and effortlessly slip into and I’d venture to say it takes some amount of cyclic dissociation or persistent disthymia in need of catharsis to seek it out. Of course these are mindless generalizations that are further complicated by the great variance of style invoked across the modern sounds of funeral doom. German funeral doom metal project Adversvm exudes a slightly faster pace and death/doom aligned production value that shirks the lure of psychedelia, flailing atmospherics, and greater experimentation that so many extreme doom projects rely on. The concept of straight-forward, heavy, well-produced, funereal death/doom seems ludicrous when read aloud but ‘Aion Sitra Ahra’ is a decidedly polished, low-frills experience.

Reliant on atmospheric death metal guitar style and mid-paced funeral doom ethos the bulk of Adversvm‘s debut sounds as if it were recorded in the same endless hallways as ‘Atra Mors’. I can point to a small handful of funeral doom metal releases that I’d call ‘guitar’ albums and the majority of this album features captivating, if not fairly standard death/doom riffs. The pacing is slow, without the ‘true death’ metal breaks of Spectral Voice, Ataraxie or Ophis, and instead slow-burns closer to more recent Monads records. The real meaty, important moments of ‘Aion Sitra Aha’ happen on the longest tracks. “Anti-Stellar Gnosis to the Acausal Nexus”, “PS. XIII Maledictvm” and the immense title track are the essential gist of a full listen whereas the last 11 minutes of “Est in Fatis” and “Current 218” serve little more purpose than an ambiance as the recording trails off into the void.

What compels interest beyond funeral death/doom for my taste is the proverbial invocation of an eternity in Qliphoth, forever damnation, and theological concepts of apocalypse. The thematic aim is towards ultimate darkness that is just short of nothingness and within the confines of duality, on the side of blasphemic evil. Without having a lyric sheet I don’t want to put words in the mouth of the writer, but I at least feel the the extreme opposition in listening to Adversvm. Being that I am a deranged fanatic for occult extreme metal and a collector of funeral death/doom permutations ‘Aion Sitra Ahra’ is the exact sort of thing that I gravitate towards. Where I struggle with the admittedly arbitrary task of rating it is choosing whether to value it’s production and overall conception above the value of the ‘so far’ listening experience. Ultimately the record carries a stoic confidence and just enough death metallic ruination to leave an above average impression. I suggest previewing the title track first if you are merely curious.


Artist Adversvm
Type Album
Released May 4, 2018
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The outer form in ashes. 4.0/5.0


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