Cadaver’s reemergence some years ago was a pleasant surprise. Neddo, during his collaboration with Satyricon as a session bassist, decided that his band’s chapter hadn’t concluded yet. Aided by Dirk Verbeuren on drums (Megadeth, and countless other bands), he reformed Cadaver, releasing “Edder & Bile” in 2020. The initial surprise was succeeded by a strong kick in the butt, as the new stuff, mingling the devastating power of traditional death metal with Aura Noir’s strokes, was one of the most straightforward Cadaver’s works.
However, the band’s peculiarity doesn’t emerge solely from old-school origins. Instead, the artistic deviations from their roots during their career made them peculiar and significant. Let’s have in mind the more technical style of “…in Pains”, the industrial approach of “Discipline” (under the short-lived moniker of Cadaver Inc.) and the inevitable blackening of their sound later on, according to the Norwegian tradition (see whom Neddo collaborated with after 2000). All these notable steps made any attempt to predict how “The Age of the Offended” would sound rather daring. Eventually, those who placed a bet on “Different” or “Diverse” and not on “Similar” or “Same”, cashed out.
Indeed, the album differs substantially from its predecessor in terms of song structures, being “difficult” and “less accessible” for listeners who prefer the directness of “Edder & Bile” and -on the contrary- more intriguing for those who seek something else. It’s a comprehensive, quality work that showcases Neddo’s experimentations with prog and technicalities, while retaining Cadaver’s familiar characteristics from the past. As such, we note the blackened sound of previous releases, in a variety of patterns that reveal influences from Celtic Frost, Voivod, Dissection and other Scandinavian bands.
The manifold character of most songs required the full extent of the band members’ skillfulness. Neddo uncovered all the hidden aces he had in his sleeve, releasing the most peculiar Cadaver’s album after 1992’s “…in Pains” (these two albums are similar in complexity levels, but not in sound of course). He had confidence in composing this material, since he had the right man to support him. Verbeuren plays easily with high precision even the most demanding parts, proving he’s the most skillful and suitable partner Neddo could have.
The experimental purpose of “Age of the Offended” by no means negates its aggression. Neddo’s evil, perverted voice and sharp riffing and Verbeuren’s raging explosions form a rough black/death totality, a nightmarish, grim insanity that expresses a pessimistic view. Nevertheless, the recruitment of Ronni Le Tekrø as a second guitarist widened the band’s perspective, with all these weird/lunatic guitar layers we occasionally hear.
In this fertile ground, different attitudes sprout up, co-existing harmonically. Cadaver’s prog intentions become evident most notably in the way “Dissolving Chaos” starts (it’s ranked first in the “progressiveness index” of the album) and the full of insanity “Scum of the Earth. On the other hand, purely barbaric, primitive moments emerge in fewer, yet noteworthy cases, like the back-to-the-basics black/thrash of “Deadly Metal” (it could easily be in the track list of “Edder & Bile”), or the astonishing Scandinavian black approach of “The Sicker, the Better”.
However, all twelve songs maintain the listener’s interest till the end. I spotted the excellent “Postapocalyptic Grinding” (the ideal opener) and “Crawl of the Cadaver”, the memorable melodies of the self-titled track and “The Craving” (great refrain!), the slow, repeated, rhythmic foundation of “The Shrink” and the rather groovy “The Drowning Man”.
Overall, the “Age of the Offended” is a precise mechanism that encompasses all the things Neddo had in his mind (musically and conceptually), processing them ingeniously to form something autonomous, with a distinctive identity. Cadaver, after so many years of inactivity, reach a level of musicianship that we hadn’t experienced before, appealing to uneasy ears that crave for methexis through out-of-ordinary explorations. Despite someone’s complaints or compliments about the album’s complexity, Cadaver’s exclusively artistic purpose is fulfilled… and that’s why we adore Neddo!