Banging straight into the fleshy septum of miserable, chaotic nox and gripping tight with nails as strong as teeth Impetuous Ritual embed themselves into the discarded carrion of death metal with every bite of their grip, savoring the ammonia-soured thrill of the vermin-piled feast ahead. A feat of pure captivity which embodies the grime that coats their character, ‘Iniquitous Barbarik Synthesis‘ is itself an act of digestion, extraction before extrusion, which busies its processors with the thrilling churn of alchemical flourish and the grinding of willed-alive substance down to quinta essentia. Deep into the villi of decomposing nutrients and discarded wares, shredded ephemera is smeared on the walls as a faecal slurry, lifeforce sapped into a decaying grease which keeps the machine hum of this decaying body loudly resonant, darting its desiccated eyes and spasming all bloating limbs in terrifying animation. “Death machine go brrrrr” part four, basically.
Since I cannot locate my copy of the third issue of Bardo Methodology, the only interview they’ve done that I know of, a few key details of the formation and modus of Impetuous Ritual escape me per thier limitation to having given one interview ever. What I do know is that the main founders/composers feature as the rhythm section in one of my personal favorite avant-garde death metal groups Portal as well as Grave Upheaval. I think it is important to recall that the common membership between those three groups were not transparently shared up front in the late 2000’s and that there was a bit of new-found mystery to their emergence in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s. Many folks heard little but noise coming from Impetuous Ritual when ‘Relentless Execution Of Ceremonial Excrescence‘ released back in 2009 but I believe the notion of “caverncore” and voluminous obscurant sound design found a lot of art-metal critics and less deeply embedded death metal fans musing over the aesthetic effect of the experience and were generally less likely to key into its patternation which was certainly not without sophistication of riffcraft and brutality. In fact there was a melodious undertone which began to truly fester around “Coalescence of Entropy” on that record which wasn’t necessarily a holdover from certain members’ time in an era appropriate brutal death metal band Internecine Excoriation (see: ‘Prognosticate The Decrepitude‘) but we nonetheless feel the churn of brutality beneath that album and their work since despite the number of layers which must be excoriated in divining some sense of each movement or statement produced within the intentional blur of their work.
Terror and submission. — The sludged-out and noisome wrack of that first album touched upon the ominous, scathing futurity of the band to some considerable degree, managing more than a foundation to rain upon the unwitting public but a true rhythmic theme would arrive with their second album (‘Unholy Congregation Of Hypocritical Ambivalence‘, 2013) which’d been the first album of theirs to receive much broader acclaim and notice. It was admirably subversive, full of miserable tension and cold derision which folks touted as horrifying thing, anti-music which was categorized in many different ways: Bestial death metal, atmospheric black/death, caverncore, avant-garde death metal, “noise”/ambient death metal permutations abounding… It’d seem any attempt to complicate or reduce the statement felt incomplete, or, difficult to analyze for anyone seeking to accomplish anything within a few hundred word review. It was the first release from Impetuous Ritual that I’d really plumbed into and probably one of the most painful headaches I’d given myself that year. After touting ‘Parasignosis‘ and ‘Contragenesis‘ in the two years prior that second album made sense to me as a fresh outlier in this bold new atmospheric realm of death metal where sound design and abstract composition were king. Folks in the know will recall 2013 being a peak for that sort of thing with important releases from Abyssal, Antediluvian, Irkallian Oracle and Grave Upheaval among several others capturing atmospheric depths, cacophonic rhythmic threads, obscure dissonance, brutal barbarism, and in many cases freely flung Dionysian abandon informing these boundary bursting feats. Point being it was a time of abundance which saturated quickly to a degree that many groups simply moved on, tested the waters a few years later, or waited a decade to return. The standard was set and for those willing to pay serious attention to each act there was certainly something unique coming from Impetuous Ritual at that point.
While ‘Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence‘ was an inward-seeking invagination of the beast, a feat of tension and scarifying reactivity the bigger, louder, and even more chaotic third strike of ‘Blight Upon Martyred Sentience‘ (2017) seemed to address a more persistent theory of droning composition while also striking upon their bestial (or, just brutal) attack more often for the sake of a menacing descending effect. The final three or four pieces on that album revealed a more intentional bigger picture which might’ve been there amidst the spectacle of previous records (as it is on ‘Iniquitous Barbarik Synthesis‘) but that time it appeared curated despite the chaotic bludgeon served in the opening moments of the record. Now, I didn’t intend to comparatively review the full discography of the band so much as give some shape to this abrasive phenomenon which many folks tend to describe in such a basic, mundane wave of the hand nowadays. There is a level of intentional confrontation and sentient placement to Impetuous Ritual‘s work that goes a step or two beyond the random fretboard tapdance of surface level bestial black/death (or, war metal) but, sure, you’ll have to see beyond the haze of downtuned-to-Hell thunder and the infinite chasm it has been rendered within to find it. Doing so is not made any easier, not even slightly more accessible here on this latest full-length which more-or-less remains in line with but different from their third album before it.
Suffocated, assaulted, seeing red, a chaotic mind prone to violence in long and destructive bursts… — Side A offers the growling and explosive tumult one would expect from Impetuous Ritual to start wherein distorted bass scours the field (“Lecherous Molestation“), rapidly darting riffs follow a predatory path on all counts and tremolo strangling leads trade off in violent swipes of scraping and wailing movement. The chaos is thick and the blustering storm of stabbing hands is well in motion but not a thoughtless mass “Sanguinary Abstraction” strikes in, feeling about half as long as it actually is per just how erratic every second of movement is beyond the general rhythm guitar shape. That initial salvo of ~3-4 minute songs, a feat which is tied off with “Grail of Enmity“, offers a reasonable connection with the precedence set by the band thus far as their elastic bestial clobber and scrape still reads larger than life in performance. That said this particular point in the record feels like a surprising stopping point, a point of punctuation on the full listen which moves on after thoroughly raining down sulfur in great fiery chunks.
This ~50 minute double LP splits neatly into three ~16 minute sides and appears at least somewhat conscious of this without being overtly designed for the need to flip and switch. After the cauterization of the first third there is no real interruption in the step on board Side B per the full-blast screaming furor of “Intramural Axiom” and the doomed pit of atonal eminence that is “Psychic Necrosis” a droning piece which stretches its statement into a draining death/doom metallic motion. It is probably the most “new” feeling portion of this experience as a whole alongside the tonally severe production here, which in some ways invokes the cruelty of ‘Avow‘. For my own taste “Psychic Necrosis” makes the album per the full listen, a point where the hinge into Side C breaks off the door and we are left with a caustic, noisome throttle to contend with for the last thirteen or so minutes. “Metempsychosis” is probably the most appreciable balance between spectacular chaos and illustrative rhythms which still make great use of the tics inherent to all of their work.
An entirely stylized recording from folks who’ve been in a league of their own making for quite some time now there was no real expectation for the production values of Impetuous Ritual, which were largely handled by the band and Ignis Fatuus, to adhere to any perceived outside standard beyond their own sensibilities. The whirlwind of their sound hasn’t been balanced into canned propriety for today’s soft-bellied, snarky extreme metal crowd but they’ve certainly tweaked the formula a bit beyond 2017. The exact right ratio of readably ominous riffcraft cutting through the massive grinding drone of it all versus that which is intentionally consumed by the beast can be found here, at least to a somewhat similar degree that it was back in 2013 where the bass guitar hadn’t quite burst atop the rest of the corpse. For my own taste, a golden ratio of ear-scuffing horror and knife-flashing riffcraft that is outrageously performed and often with more tact than it’d seem and this is enough to recreate the befuddled, creeped state of vexation that their second album had impressed upon me a decade ago. Though this familiarity rings out up front I’d appreciated just how many stabs into left field that’d arisen beyond “Necromantic Esurience” or nearby as the deranged birth ’til death cycle explored here changes it up just enough to keep the length of ‘Iniquitous Barbarik Synthesis‘ from feeling too grotesquely bloated. If you were not a fan of Impetuous Ritual in the past I don’t believe this album intends to be your gateway toward redemption, rather it feeds a deeper level of dread into its own idiosyncratic language that’ll first and foremost appeal to those already in the cult. Unpleasant, obscured, and ruthless beyond expectation. A high recommendation.
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