Hey there, tech fiends. It's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking for even more sick bands to hear, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
I’ve got a rare break in this ongoing early song premiere and album stream this week, so if you’re more interested in that kind of thing, be sure to check in the next two weeks for early streams of the new The Scalar Process (Transcending Obscurity) and Ominous Ruin (Willowtip Records) albums! But that doesn’t mean what I’ve got to show you today isn’t worth your time.
Italian dissonant technical death metal masters Ad Nauseam made a huge impact on the dissonant extreme metal scene with the release of their 2015 debut album, Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est. I’d be lying if I said I was among those super psyched on it at the time, though I certainly understood the appeal and respected the well-constructed music that the album contained. At any rate, I try to always keep an open mind and was intrigued to hear what the group’s recently released album, Imperative Imperceptible Impulse, had to offer when it was announced earlier this year and is set to come out this Friday through Avantgarde Music.
I’ve been spinning the new album ever since a super early full stream went live at No Clean Singing on January 29th and even now I still feel lost in its vast depths. Building upon the style of writing found on Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est, Imperative Imperceptible Impulse is an impenetrable mass that often feels like songs within songs within songs. This is achieved while creating music that remains highly dynamic and replete with insane performances from every member without feeling like basic “riff salad” type material or oddly stitched together extended songs. Although I sometimes feel like some tracks could have lost some parts or had more memorable moments, I’ve come to embrace and love what they do for what it is.
Although their sound is very indebted to the likes of Gorguts, Ulcerate, and Deathspell Omega, their unique compositional approach is very much their own thing. For that, I give them a fuckload of credit and praise. Listening to the album is almost like an abstract painting, it’s a deconstruction of what we know, with the form behind the approach imbuing the entity itself with a uniqueness that's very intriguing. I suppose my only other complaint is also possibly not a complaint since it feels like a conscious artistic decision most likely. By that I mean the order of the six songs on the album, the best cuts are in the second half of the album. A decision that I understand but given how long the album and each song is, I guess I "need" to play armchair critic and I don’t get placing all of the best stuff towards the end.
The band does a phenomenal job at writing about their artistic aims and influences so I’ll share their quote about the release for you below. Their multi-part statement on Imperative Imperceptible Impulse is as follows: “With their sophomore album Imperative Imperceptible Impulse, Ad Nauseam took a step forward in terms of composition, musical structures, and sound. Music is not intended as a mere sequence of riffs that sounds well one after the other, but is now a naturally ordered structure where almost every musical event refers to the past and/or predicts the future, generating very layered and complex patterns dominated by polyphony and polyrhythms and where each instrument has its own role and is essential in the whole. The music represents a merging of many different styles, the most prominent ones being extreme death/black metal, avant-garde, jazz, post-core, doom/sludge, and ambient.
The composition process of Imperative Imperceptible Impulse has been heavily influenced by 20th-century classical composers like Stravinsky, Šostakóvič, Xenakis, Scelsi, Penderecki, and Ligeti, to name a few. Both the concepts of harmony and melody have been put into discussion to get music where harmony is obtained by means of disharmony and melody by dissonances. To push this method even further, a unique tuning system has been conceived, to allow a new harmonic vocabulary and to eradicate the players from the comfort zone of the usual melodic patterns every guitar/bass player is used to.
Ad Nauseam takes a step back from the synthetic, flat and fake sound of modern production trends, going in the opposite direction, again adopting the same principles that are used to record classical music: less is more.
An extreme effort has been put to find a way to record the most natural, dynamic, and tridimensional sound possible. For this reason, instead of focusing on the mixing and post-production phase, an insane amount of attention has been paid studying how to capture the best sound since the very beginning. The maniacal assembly and calibration of the audio chain allowed to nearly eliminate the use of equalizers and dynamic compressors. Saying it with Steve Albini: "I want to hear the sound of the instrument, not the sound of the processor.”
If you’ve yet to hear Ad Nauseam – Imperative Imperceptible Impulse, you can check out the full album stream at No Clean Singing. Orders can be placed through the labels Bandcamp page and what seems to be a higher dynamic range version of the release can be found through the bands Bandcamp page. You can follow the group over on the Ad Nauseam Facebook page.