Unholy Congregation Of Hypocritical Ambivalence
Review + Stream
Label: Profound Lore Records
In recent years, Omenous Fugue and Ignis Fatuus have achieved a steadily growing reputation after joining Portal, one of the more unique Death Metal bands to ever emerge, and rightfully so; but perhaps lost in the mix is their more demented, cave-dwelling, bestial brainchild known as Impetuous Ritual. While they also toil away in pools of dissonant obscurity, their attack is much more straightforward and unrelenting, as I found their debut Relentless Execution of Ceremonial Excrescence to be quite an impressive slab of unsettling Death Metal might. Nearly five years later, their follow up Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence builds upon that foundation and then some.
To be rather blunt about it, my reaction throughout the entire course of this 48 minute long juggernaut was HOLY FUCK. Struck with shock and cryptic horror at these grandiose compositions, I found my eyes to be wide as golf balls from start to finish, absolutely stricken with the magnitude of blasphemous ferocity that takes place on this recording. Essentially, all Death Metal outfits strive to achieve an evil atmosphere in their own various ways, but Impetuous Ritual succeeds at doing so in ways I never imagined. Even being familiar with their prior work, Unholy Congregation blew me away and dozens of listens later is still doing just that – blowing me the fuck away.
The way they do it can’t help but take you aback, and a good example of this occurs right from the get-go on the opening track “Verboten Genesis,” when shrieks and pounding bass give way to a sudden riff change that hypnotizes with eerie fortitude, in concert with tempo-shifting drums that carry the song forward in tasteful fashion – a bleak and startling initiation into the grotesque violence that will continue to take place, again and again. The following track, “Venality in Worship,” hits you again with the unexpected, slashing ear drums with heavily distorted, high-pitched leads that take center stage, and this is something that occurs often throughout the album’s rendering. Zig-zagging within and beyond the song structures, these leads rupture forth in much the same way as on Blasphemy’s classic 1990 debut Fallen Angel of Doom – exploding across the scene with startling, pent up ferocity.
Similarities aside, there’s something distinctly different about the way Impetuous Ritual traverse the beaten, bestial landscape, and it lies in how bizarre and unhinging some of these riffs sound and the seemingly constant leads that accompany them. And much more than that, this album isn’t just some one trick pony either, for it also conjures atmosphere in slow, noisy, repetitious compositions as well on “Despair” and the album closer, “Blight,” two tracks that were made to put one’s stomach in knots. Under the immense weight of gradual, claustrophobic movements, “Despair” is an oppressive monster of dread that churns with alien, otherworldly terror towards its climax, an impressive solo that bleeds and cries out in total despondency. At this point in the album, you could already hit the stop button and sit in awe with plenty to think about.
But Impetuous Ritual isn’t through with you yet. Not even close.
“Inservitude of Asynchronous Duality” is what follows, and the first time I heard it, I can safely say that it literally chilled me to the bone with its demented lead work and absolutely hellacious high-pitched screams. I consider it to be, by and large, one of the most brutally depraved and startling songs I’ve ever heard in the DM genre, as it’s by far the single most extreme, twisted incarnation to date of these Aussies’ fucked up, dark vision. It’s nothing short of petrifying, and there’s no reprieve from it, as it transitions seamlessly into “Womb of Acrimony”; a short, blistering track that scalds and deepens the scars the band has already inflicted.
These tracks thrust you headlong into the second half of the album, leaving you so far flung and beyond return that by the time the closing track “Blight” rolls around, there really is no hope left for anything. Nearly 15 minutes long, this instrumental, glacial beast moves with sick subtlety; ritualistic pacing joined with strange moans, chants, and eerie, desolate winds bespeak the ruinous remains of a dead, cold, empty universe. It effectively concludes what is ultimately a traumatic, disturbing venture into black vistas otherwise hidden from human perception.
Listeners beware: this is not an album you listen to distractedly or in passing before going along with your day, no; it is a ceremonial disembowelment of all you hold dear. I’m convinced it’s designed specifically to blacken one’s heart and shred one’s sanity. For those that wish to glimpse what is truly “beyond,” tread carefully, for some things can’t be unseen, as some stones are best left unturned.