Sound — 8
The latest addition to the Trustkill Label, Adversary, shows plenty of promise in terms of being an offshoot of the Gothenburg metal sound - even though they hail from Virginia. The description audio assault on the senses is thrown around a lot when talking about metal, but Adversary's debut album Singularity fits it perfectly. There is rarely a dip in energy, almost to the point of being manic at times. Musically it's a fascinating listen between vocalist William Clapp's Cradle-of-Filth-style of high-pitched singing, and the particularly incredible guitar team of Kenny Harrison and Brad Ryder. You do get some alternating melodic vocals in the mix, which in this particular case, creates a much-needed balance. In the first seconds of Singularity, there is an eerie calm and you might think there will be a slow build on the opening track Hedonist. Oh, no. Adversary wastes no time in bursting out with nonstop double bass pedals, creepy screams, and distortion-fueled guitars. That's not to say that the band's debut release Singularity doesn't take time to allow melody to come through. Hedonist gives us a taste of some beautiful guitar harmonies, which are enhanced by the alternating melodic vocal style. In this track and pretty much every other one on Singularity, the musicianship is what comes to the forefront, and there are some pretty complex arrangements that accentuate the band's overall chemistry. The main issue is the overall cohesiveness of the songwriting, which again, tends to have a manic feel. There's nothing wrong with nonstop energy, but the musical sections within the same song don't always fit that well together. Manifest Humility is a perfect example because you get section after section of cool material, and they just seem to come from out of nowhere. When you separate one hook from the core melody and so on and so on, it's not always a seamless transition. In a way, this does keep your attention, and I will give them that. And even if the songs don't always work perfectly, Adversary still has some awesome shredders that will have you wishing that you could see just exactly how they're playing particular parts. The overall speed, aggression, and energy are given the spotlight, but when they do bring things down, it almost sound heavier. By Apathy Undone once again assaults the senses, and a little before the mid-point, there's a very cool, grooving breakdown. It's in those types of moments that Adversary rises above the rest. The band also saves the best for last with Wisdom In Regret, which starts out with a Megadeth-like lead riff and is solid from that moment on. From the machine gun-like effect of the vocal-percussion combo to the extremely memorable chorus, Adversary proves itself to be a formidable force in metal.
Lyrics — 9
We received an advanced copy of Singularity, and sadly there weren't any liner notes to give us a rundown of every song's lyrics. Clapp isn't the easiest to comprehend, but I was able to find a few songs' content via the beautiful Internet. There is an intensity to the music, and it seems the lyrics follow suit. There is almost a poetic, philosophical to a song like the title track Singularity with lyrics such as, And as this ontological Renaissance does become me; May the sands of time engrain in a man. These aren't lines just tossed together to make the usual rhyme scheme, and it appears the band put just as much energy into the lyrics as the music.
Overall Impression — 8
Although it is exhausting to listen to a few songs on Singularity, Adversary does find the perfect balance of energy and solid songwriting in many of the tracks. Wisdom of Regret is a downright perfect song, while the instrumental Ashes of Faith has a great mix of driving guitars, rhythmic insanity, and a calming string section. Even on the tracks that seem more chaotic than cohesive, there is a ton of creativity and that speaks well for Adversary's future.