I consider myself lucky that I’ve never had my head, or any other body part for that matter, stuck in a vice. I am one of the clumsiest, most accident-prone people on Earth, so that sense of relief is not preposterous. I did get my head stuck in the metal slats of a swing on my grandmother’s porch when I was a kid. Scared the hell out of me.
My good fortune around a tool bench comes to mind when thinking about “Continuum of Absence,” the gargantuan new record from Germany’s more-than-a-mouthful-named band Ingurgitating Oblivion. We haven’t even heard from these crushers in nearly a decade, but in that time, they’ve managed to well oil and refine their technically baffling, gurgling death metal machine to the point of pure terror. Hearing them makes me think of having a body part locked somewhere against my will, as great forces do both physical and psychological damage, leaving me no choice but to take the beating. That might make it seem like I don’t like this record, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, it makes me imagine those horrible scenarios almost in a way of perverse entertainment. I feel bad for the sorry bastards these guys do catch and wallop over and over again.
This band started off as Of Trees and Orchids, a rather serene-sounding name, in 1997, and a few years later, they switched over to this moniker. Since that time, they’ve managed one full-length in 2005’s “Voyage Towards Abhorrence” and only a few mini releases otherwise. But they sound like one mighty beast on this new one, and this band–vocalist Ulrich Kreienbrink, guitarists Florian Engelke and Sascha Hermersdorf, bassist Christian Pfeil, and drummer Ingo Neugebauer–sounds ready to take on the task of brutalizing as many people as humanly possible. The accompanying bio suggest those who dig Immolation, Morbid Angel, and the great Gorguts would find favor with these guys, and I’d be hard pressed to disagree or fiddle with that statement.
There’s an eerie first minute or so that greets listeners at the start of “Eternal Quiescence” before it heads into cold outer space and then clobbering pits of violence. The track is dipped in muck, with fierce growls exploding, vicious guitar work unfurling, and sinister darkness spreading its way across this 10:21 animal. “Save us!” Kreienbrink howls in desperation as the music bubbles up and fizzles out. “Antinomian Rites” begins with some weirdness before it blasts open, with crushing growls meeting rubbery bass work and muddy death pits. The drums go off toward the end of the song, with strong soloing adding even more taste. “Burden of Recurrence” runs 8:28 and takes its time to fully form. As the momentum builds, the track leans into devastating growls, tricky guitar work that’ll cause you to tilt your head with intrigue, and an interesting melody line that snakes through the song and leads you from front to back. The track spills ill intent, while the rhythm section keeps it limber and volcanic. “Descent to the Temple” is dusty and cosmic at the start, with guitars whipping up a lather, and further mucky filth adding a nice thick layer of grime. The vocals sound tortured, while the drum kit is absolutely battered, and later an exploratory path runs headlong into an inferno.
“Avatar of Radiating Absence” goes 7:26, and it slips into noise, strange winds, and a mind-altering approach to the music. No surprise there, as the band keeps the pace heavy and their mind frame monstrous. The vocals sound scraped from the guts, and the patterns are totally grisly and sickening, with the body blows being spread all over the place. A giant helping of gloppy death stew is then dropped at the finish. “Offering” is a shorter, more explosive piece, with loopy guitar patterns, some unforgiving clobbering that should cause bruising to the ear drums, and vocals that sound painful to deliver. The nearly eight-minute closer “Stupendous, Featureless, Still” pushes noise screeches into smothering mauling that rumbles along for the song’s entire run. The high points of what we’ve heard before are revisited, from the tar-thick riffs to lurching bass work to hellacious growls. The sounds meet up and begin swirling heavily like a metallic tornado, feeling like four different songs are assaulting you at once. The deranged laughs that drop at the end poke and insult you, like the band is reminding you it was their decision to let you live.
Ingurgitating Oblivion may not be the most prolific band in the world, but at least they’ve given us quality. Hopefully with the arrival of this dark, gut-shaking, violent treat of an album in “Continuum of Absence,” the guys will get on track and report back to us more often with whatever sick creations they conjure. This record will shake you up inside, pummel your nerves, and leave you begging for mercy while your head is locked mercilessly into that basement vice.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ingurgitating-Oblivion/310897791310
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