Are you afraid of being buried alive?
If you answered “yes,” then you should probably never listen to Impetuous Ritual’s new album, Blight Upon Martyred Sentience.
Now, if you’re a wise-mouthed hardcore music aficionado, you quipped that you’re a fan of everything Scott Vogel does, but particularly Buried Alive. Me too. Now that I’ve outed your weak joke, go back to your Tumblr and tell everyone how excited you are for This Is Hardcore 2017. Everyone else, feel free to read on.
If you’re already familiar with Impetuous Ritual, you’re probably just checking to see if I’m going to provide some confirmation bias for your love of this new album. I will do that. This album rules. Done.
What’s really the most fun is to try and explain the Impetuous Ritual sound and vibe to people who aren’t into it – yet. The lazy thing to do is draw on the shared band members of Portal. Portal is the best “death metal” band in the entire world. If some band shares members with Portal, it’s hard to suck.
Back to being buried alive. That’s kind of what this sounds like. Just a dump truck of dirt-infused chaos riffage dropped directly into your ears and onto your body. It’s a recording that is so gritty, muddy and heavy that you feel things physically while listening to it – and I love it.
Let’s put it another way, shall we? Do you love peanut butter? I do. I’m eating some right now. While listening to Impetuous Ritual. And that’s the best comparison. Blight Upon Martyred Sentience does to your sense what putting a large spoonful of peanut butter into your mouth will do to your mouth. You love peanut butter and you will survive, but you’re mouth just got dealt with.
At 43-ish minutes, the record is no joke. But it also doesn’t drone on and on. The first track, “Void Cohesion,” is nearly eight minutes in length and you don’t feel it. I mean, you definitely feel the track, but you don’t feel the length. It also has a particularly nasty audio quality compared with the rest of the album. The vocals are distant, at times echoing, at times sounding like a fractal.
Every song on the album has a seemingly unlimited number of things happen at the same time. They produce some wonderful, heavy, and extremely complex… noise.
I’ve seen some people on the internet claim they’ve listened to these songs backward and some of the guitar parts play forward when listened to in reverse. That seems like a totally unsurprising thing for Impetuous Ritual to do. However, I simply listen to the songs forward, like a regular person. On this side of things, everything sounds like it is played correctly also.
Once you get beyond the somewhat mantra-like opener, it’s pure chaos that disjoints the comfort of the droning opener. “Apoptosis” is just straight shocking you out of the trance put upon you by “Void Cohesion.” Clearly intentional and very well done. Also, it’s a total thrasher that’s only 2:31 in length.
I can’t/won’t take the time to journal my thoughts on each individual track, but this album is a complete book from open to close. It takes you on the full ride, hitting you everywhere, just as it should. And songs, if you call them that, break down into something that isn’t song, only to return with full force. It’s a unique, heavy, dirty form of art.
One track that does stick out as a strong song with some particularly memorable, resonating guitar parts and forceful vocals is “Untoward Evocation.” The song produces some of my favorite sounds on the journey and it acts as a near mid-point for the epic that is Blight Upon Martyred Sentience. If you’re trying to ease yourself into these waters, this track would be my suggested starting point.
The last time Impetuous Ritual released an album was back in 2014, when Culture Currency was in its infancy as Life As A Dagger. It’s been a while. It’s been even longer since Portal, the more renowned of the two projects released Vexovoid. There’s a rumor that a new Portal album will be on the way in the near future and I hope that is true. If this album is any sign of the kind of work that we can expect from the next, we’re being spoiled.
Hard to imagine that many other albums in the extreme metal genres have a shot at touching the work on this album this year. It’s beautifully complex, masterfully gritty, and totally intense.
by Daniel Coughlin