Self Mutilation Services, 2010
Genre: Black Metal
1. Reflections of Isolation - Pt. I
2. Contrary Brightness, Solitary Darkness
3. Reflections of Isolation - Pt. II
4. Postludium - In Hopeless Melancholy
Adversus Semita return very quickly with a new album again on Self Mutilation Services. There's no information on when the material was actually written, so I don't know if Abandoned was merely sitting on two albums worth of material at the time or if this was swiftly composed after the demo. Either way this is again limited to 500 copies which is the usual fashion for Self Mutilation Services.
Adversus Semita delve deeper into a seriously depressive state, in actually relatively interesting fashion to me. Strangely I would say this new material is heavily on the Depressive Suicidal Black Metal (DSBM) side of things. A lot more so than the prior album at any rate. I really don't usually go for this style of music. Typically the slow pacing, high pitched vocals, tend to annoy me... and it's just really not my thing. I think Adversus Semita are bridging their writing enough with the more Atmospheric Black Metal style to keep me interested. I was honestly worried at the opening of "Reflections of Isolation - Pt. I" because of how slow the guitar was droning on. While others may have heralded an album entirely made up of that approach, I would have been saddened because the debut was totally different and quite strong. Eventually the songs pick up the pace and the tremelo picking begins in that raw and harsh Horna fashion. The vocals range into the usual DSBM range, but I feel they are quite varied enough to make it more interesting.
I think Adversus Semita's first full-length effort is quite good. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how often I would listen to this. As I mentioned before, I'm not a huge fan of the DSBM atmosphere and even though Adversus Semita brings something better and more compelling than the usual form, I am just rarely in the mood for this type of material. However, if the fancy ever strikes me, I will certainly return to this band to fill that void. The only thing I can say I truly disliked about the album is the way the hi-hat sounds on the drum kit. The drums are not well produced, but it works well with the rather dense atmosphere Adversus Semita is using. Luckily the drum mix is pretty far in the background and the guitars are very loud in the front, so the hi-hat is fairly drowned out. Usually I would complain about this fact, but for this it's a good thing, because I hate that tone.
In the end Adversus Semita actually produce a successful release. Will it stand the test of time? Hard to say, but it's not a sound I fiend for like other bands. I enjoy it while it's on, but with the vast amounts of choices I have out there I would tend toward something else I think. If this band keeps producing material into the future they might stumble upon a rather compelling sound. For the record, this is actually a pretty decent feat, given I don't usually like the the music for the intended target audience.
Self Mutilation Services, 2009
Genre: Black Metal
1. Ashes of a Burning Heaven
2. He, the Greedy One
3. Pale Winter Moon
4. Death's Gratification
5. The Purity of Darkness
This was sort of a random purchase for me. I heard a brief sample and decided to try the band out. I am really glad I did this. This is a one man band from Norway, for some reason I don't seem to get too many newer bands from Norway, but Adversus Semita is one to check out for sure.
As soon as "Ashes of a Burning Heaven" starts the listener is utterly immersed into the atmosphere of this album. Abandoned seems to have really nailed it with this project. He took a lot of what was great in the modern era and blended it with the early days. I feel like the guitars lines have a feel of a more hypnotic sounding Horna. While Horna played some epic songs with one riff, I don't think they sounded on the same level as the riffs on "The Ecstasy of Sin". The songs just have this really compelling feel to them and it is quite difficult to explain. I'm not sure you really get to hear stuff just like this anymore. The songs are expertly arranged paying careful attention to let the atmosphere flow from theme to theme. The overall sound is immersive and dark, but bordering on the melancholic as well.
The production is not necessarily crisp and clear. It has a very early stage Black Metal production, which gives the production feel of the early days. This is actually rather hard to pull off well, but I think Adversus Semita did a superb job. Everything feels somewhat subdued and condensed, while still being produced well enough for the listener to hear everything that is going on. The vocals are in the background than is typical for Black Metal, but I think if they were in the absolute forefront it would take away from the music. Abandoned shifts around fairly low growls for most of the album, but does some mid-range stuff where needed. I definitely love the vocal approach because I hate the high-pitched Burzum-esque vocals that seem so prevalent in the less vicious Black Metal bands.
In the end if you have a healthy appreciation for very well written Black Metal, I don't see how you can go wrong with Adversus Semita. Unfortunately this CD is only limited to 500 copies, so I recommend getting it if you can. Adversus Semita is beautifully dark, while still maintaining a very disturbing and ugly tone for the songs. Very well done if you ask me!