The word “hawwah” is the Hebrew name for Eve, from the biblical Adam and Eve of the book of Genesis. Roughly translated, it means “living one.” It might seem strange to see such a reference occurring in the context of a death metal album title, but after only a few listens to Antediluvian’s Through the Cervix of Hawwah, it became abundantly clear to me why they would choose to invoke the mythical first woman.
According to Genesis, Eve was fundamental in “the fall of man,” being seduced by the serpent to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge, and in turn convincing Adam to do the same. Upon discovering what transpired, God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden, so that Adam would be forced into a lifetime of labor and Eve would repeatedly suffer the pain of childbirth as the mother of all human life. Adam and Eve were the first to defy God, and in turn Eve birthed a race of imperfect, defiant and “sinful” beings that can ultimately be seen as an affront to any sort of “divine plan” that God may have had. This, combined with the fact that childbirth was a traumatic, painful, bloody and sometimes even deadly affair during the times when the biblical stories were conceived, makes for some pretty interesting musical fodder.
Canada’s Antediluvian tap into that traumatic, bloody, defiant energy and harness it into some seriously compelling death metal on Through the Cervix of Hawwah. Antediluvian’s sound might seem quite primitive at first due to the album’s raw production scheme, but with that rawness comes a clarity that reveals a level of complexity which wasn’t always apparent on their excellent but rather murky demo material. There is something primal about the way the music heaves and lurches, something painful and violent that seems more akin to brutally ripping the titular cervix apart as opposed to simply passing through it, yet there is also a terrifying precision to the album’s twists and contortions. Antediluvian are somehow able to control the ancient miasma that pours out of their amplifiers and instill it with purpose. That purpose is total musical annihilation.
Just like those prehistoric humans that supposedly passed through Hawwah’s cervix, Antediluvian’s music is alive. It seethes and rages, expands and recedes as if infused with its own terrible sentience, more akin to the malformed spawn of Lilith than to any offspring found in biblical fables. It is a descent into the depths of depravity; this cervix is no product of the almighty but rather a rotten cesspool of sickening musical grotesqueries, bursting out in fits of slime-covered, bestial tumult.
Whether due to the prevalence of the aforementioned murky production schemes or a genuine lack of instrumental prowess, many of the bands using Incantation as a jumping-off point into the death metal abyss have a tendency to put atmosphere above musicianship and songwriting. Not so with Antediluvian. There is indeed a fetid atmosphere present on Through the Cervix of Hawwah, but the band also brings real riffs to the table and exhibits a compositional aptitude that borders on progressive. It’s a far cry from the predictable, weak death metal that plagues the genre of late, making Through the Cervix of Hawwah the kind of album that offers something new each and every time you listen to it, even as it kicks your teeth in and covers you in viscera.
But for as bloody and bludgeoning as Through the Cervix of Hawwah is, there is also subtlety. A filthy and frightful ambience that can only be described as Lovecraftian coats the album; the band imbues their music with the same foreboding sense of dread that Lovecraft weaved into stories such as The Shadow over Innsmouth and The Whisperer in the Darkness more capably and palpably than just about any other contemporary death metal band I’ve encountered. The few relatively calm moments where the ambience takes over make it that much more horrific when those gnarled, withered riffs come shambling back into the mix.
Through the Cervix of Hawwah’s near-perfect combination of dirt and clarity in the production department, mixed with its progressive tendencies, makes Antediluvian a band to watch. Instead of just vomiting out yet another death metal retread, this band is tapping directly into the genre’s primordial ooze and re-shaping it into something totally their own. Just as Eve took fruit from the forbidden tree in defiance of her so-called god, Antediluvian have defied the death metal gods, and in the process created a timelessly enthralling slab of excruciating, primeval ugliness.