ALBUM REVIEW: Ad Nauseum – Imperative Imperceptible Impulse

Release Date: February 12th 2021
Label: Avantgarde Music
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When delving into a death metal project that cites 20th century classical composers such as Stravinsky and Ligeti as compositional influences, coupled with a painstaking recording process inspired by the uncompromising vision of Steve Albini, there’s an immediate sense of grandeur that doesn’t often accompany your standard metal outing.

Eschewing repetition in favour of ever-shifting pieces, Italy’s Ad Nauseum have taken six long years to craft the follow-up to their staggering 2015 debut, ‘Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est’.

In an attempt to capture the most raw, palpable live performances possible, the vast majority of material was recorded in real time, with a strict focus and discipline, leaving little to no need for post-production tampering. The concept of triggers, compressors, or punching in and out of a track-section is non-existent on ‘Imperative Imperceptible Impulse’. This point is vital when attempting to unpack the sheer ludicrous level at which the band write and perform.

Technically speaking, this is a complex, unwelcoming, hallucinatory behemoth of a project. A six-track, hour-long ordeal, made up of ten-to-twelve-minute opuses that continuously climb atop one another with ominous, inhuman disregard for time signatures or structure.

Twisted, dissonant, harmonic riffs cascade, crash, and conjoin while octopus Morse Code drum patterns clatter around an utterly nauseating bass tone, that feels as if you can hear the strings hanging to the floor.

The production process imbues the material with such a sinister authenticity that the majority of counterparts usually lack, with several modern tech-death releases feeling so overtly edited and glossed up. Ad Nauseum opt for the blackened route, blending a potent concoction of the two genres, more intimidating in its technicality, while the harsh, abrasive recording quality recalls the lo-fi early days of Norwegian black metal, aided in no small part by vocal similarities to Attila Csihar of Mayhem, with an Orc meets Mongolian throat singer form of operatic rasp.

Most bizarre of all is how the cacophonous, audible mutilations result in harmonic and often uplifting sections like on the cinematic ‘Coincidentia Oppositorum’, or through the minimalist, avantgarde drone segments found on the caustic opener, ‘Sub Specie Aeternitatis’, that do little to alleviate the constant sense of unidentifiable, cosmic dread.

A crushing, integral, and phenomenal piece of experimental, avantgarde extreme metal, ‘Imperative Imperceptible Impulse’ is sure to reach underground classic status in due course. Ad Nauseum have delivered an incomparable, daunting, near incomprehensible triumph that demands close attention and scrutiny before rewarding with sonic deathscapes of the most malevolent variety.