It’s time for another sickening, terrifying trip down the wormhole that is Australian metal, and as many of you know, this isn’t a journey to be taken lightly. Things apparently are done a little differently Down Under, especially with bands such as Portal, StarGazer, Bestial Warlust, and Mournful Congregation.
Another of those hellacious bands in Impetuous Ritual, a group that shares members with Portal and Grave Upheaval and is on their second full-length document of chaos, the impossibly thick and mean “Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence” (out on Profound Lore). If you were into their 2009 debut “Relentless Execution of Ceremonial Excrescence” (holy hell, it’s been five years?!), chances are you will feel pretty at home with this new one. Well, as home as you can feel taking on a record that sounds like the manifestation of hell on earth. You know how people will make lame jokes about metal like, “Oh, this one will scare your grandmother!” Yeah, well this one will scare other death metal fans, ones that aren’t ready for such an infernal, suffocating, punishing record. The bands on that cute little Mayhem fest? They’d piss themselves having to take the stage next to a horde like this one. Come to think of it, that would actually get me to go to that clown show, just seeing the reactions.
But we’re not here to slam mall death metal (well, we kind of are); we’re here to discuss this dense, eight-track vitriol that gets heavier, stranger, and more relentless as the thing runs its course. It’s not an easy listen to anyone who seeks a little perfection in their death metal, because this thing sounds like it was scraped over with a greasy Brillo pad, giving it that mucky, ominous feel. You have to concentrate deeply and show some patience if you are to have a shot at uncovering each layer of this record. But if you do, you’ll notice the musical genius of guitarist/vocalist Ignis Fatuus (Portal, Grave Upheaval), guitarist Omenous Fugue (Portal), bassist Typhon (Grave Upheaval), and drummer Necros Craigos (Mongrel’s Cross), whose work on this album is one of the most dominant factors. He rumbles and destroys behind the kit, and maybe it was by accident, but he becomes something of an all-star of this album with his playing. He cannot be contained.
“Verboten Genesis” gets the record off to a raucous start, blasting open in its first seconds to drag you into a world of nightmares. The deep growls reverberate, eventually getting into your veins and shaking your central nervous system. The guitars go off and are unrelenting in their mission, screeching and whining, leaving you dizzy and disoriented, and the drums obliterate everything in their wake before the song ends. “Venality in Worship” serves up more boiling madness, with raw growls, guitars with their own agenda setting off and setting things ablaze, and an overall churning feeling that just might sicken you. “Sentient Aberrations” remains just as suffocating as everything that preceded it, which really is a running theme of the record, and horrific, echo-laden growls and splattering drums give this song its unquestioned power. The 9:07-long “Despair” follows, and it’s the first song to change the pace, with drubbing, mid-tempo doom that crushes, a dark ambiance that sets a tone, charred growls, and a calculated beating. Then everything ends suddenly but lights back up again, finally pushing the tempo forward and unleashing crazed, whinnying soloing that drives you to the eye of insanity.
“Inservitude of Asynchronous Duality” trickles right out of “Despair,” with more charred guitars, clubbing drumming that could put welts on your face, a sweltering wave of noise, and vocals that again go for the darkest depths of the world. In fact, the vocals switch tones to terrifying shrieks and wails that sound like a man dying in his boots, and they make for some of the scariest moments of this record. “Womb of Acrimony” is devious and harsh, with gut-wrenching guitar work and evil spiraling right into “Metastasis,” as if they are conjoined. The band keeps stoking the fires, boring into your soul, while death bells chime over and over again, the tone feels dangerously ritualistic, and deep-seeded growls lacerate your heart. Closer “Abhorrent Paragon” gives the drums one final chance to do further damage to your psyche, while the hellacious noise they generate is overwhelming, the growls sound cavernous and filthy, and the guitars grind out and mete out their last acts of horror.
Impetuous Ritual remain one of the darkest, most dangerous death metal bands in the world, and there isn’t an ounce of compromise in their sound. You don’t get it? That’s too bad. These guys lay it on thick and deadly on “Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence,” an album too frightening for your run-of-the-mill metal fan, too dense for a listener who needs everything spoon fed and safe, and too smoky for someone who likes their death metal clean, neat, and digestible. Those people will be the ones in the corner choking while Impetuous Ritual claim their useless souls.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Impetuous-Ritual/128111827293954
To buy the album, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/products-page/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/