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Ad Nauseam - Imperative Imperceptible Impulse CD (album) cover


Ad Nauseam

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars AD NAUSEUM hit the ground running in the world of avant-garde tech death metal in 2015 with its lauded "Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est" which proved to be the second coming of Gorguts' classic "Obscura" wrapped in completely new clothing. With bantering wails of sonic swarms of atonal and jagged guitar riffs teased out into unthinkable detachment, AD NAUSEUM proved they were worthy successors and pretty much handed honorable post doctorates in "Obscura" studies which they so successfully took to the next level in the world of avant-garde metal excess.

If any band can be accused of nerding out to the max, surely it's this quartet of unorthodox musicians hailing from Scio, Italy which is just a hop, skip and a jump from the city of Venice. Having gotten the unrelenting angst out of their system after a debut album that excelled in a relentless attack so frighteningly intense that it was advised to avoid for those who were faint of heart, after six long years AD NAUSEUM returns with its second coming in the form of IMPERATIVE IMPERCEPTIBLE IMPULSE and as well as leaving the Latin locutions behind, so too does AD NAUSEUM jettison the full speed throttle that dominated the debut.

While the 20th century integral serialism and avant-garde classical underpinnings of the debut rarely peeked out of the bantering din, IMPERATIVE IMPERCEPTIBLE IMPULSE showcases a more relaxed AD NAUSEUM that has allowed less abrasive moments of contemplation to intermingle within the incessant metal brawl that continues the bantering din of the Gorguts playbook. Album #2 features six tracks, all of which exceed the eight minute mark with "Coincidentia oppositorum" racing past the twelve. With a running time of 57 minutes, IMPERATIVE IMPERCEPTIBLE IMPULSE offers a more balanced approach laid down on the debut with an extraordinary attention to details that displays this band's outstanding commitment to crafting some of the most forward thinking avant-garde metal of the decade.

While still steeped in tech death clothing with growly vocals, aggressive technical guitar wizardry and abrasive atonalities, AD NAUSEUM has like many of its contemporaries in reality drifted off into a totally new world of extreme metal that doesn't really fit into the established orthodoxies of death, black, sludge, progressive etc metal. While currently only the term avant-garde can really fit the bill, AD NAUSEUM continues the death metal immediacy with the Deathspell Omega abstractness and Meshuggah-like disscontempt of established paradigms. On this sophomore release, AD NAUSEUM pretty much takes all the features of the debut and amplifies them severalfold.

This is the kind of metal monstrosity that has alienated a lot of traditional metalheads for sure as this type of experimental abstractness has totally left the gravitational pull of classic metal approaches and ventured into unknown territory where it seems there is no end in sight as these types of bands venture ever further into the unexplored terrains. AD NAUSEUM seems to have perfected a balancing act here as it delivers unrelenting brutality in the form of atonal dissonance riff barrages wrapped up in progressive tech death clothing however the moments of non-metal shine through much more brightly and feature interesting orchestrations that evoke a keen sense of 20th century classical composers ranging from Arnold Schoeberg and John Cage to free dissonance and experimentalism of Charles Ives and Edgard Verèse. Metal bands like this are truly the new avant-garde classical. There are more moments on this one that remind me of Kayo Dot or Maudlin of the Well than album #1.

This is truly abstractionist's paradise as AD NAUSEUM really understands the dynamics of metal-in-opposition and develops their post-Obscura-ism even further. Graced with a keen attention to production values as well as over-the-top metal dynamism, this band has truly mastered the true intent of avant-garde extreme metal and showcases a more mature album although many will be instantly alienated by the jagged uninviting soundscapes presented. Advanced metal who study calculus for fun. This is not the instantly warm and fuzzy metal of decades prior but rather the ultimate expression in nerd metal run amok. Personally i love this [&*!#] and AD NAUSEUM has unleashed a brilliant followup to its already ambitious debut.

4.5 stars exuberantly rounded up

Report this review (#2510825)
Posted Thursday, March 4, 2021 | Review Permalink
3 stars 28th April, 2021: Ad Nauseam - Imperative Imperceptible Impulse (avant-garde technical death metal, 2021)

I absolutely adore the black metal equivalent of this style, and I suppose it just shows my natural genre bias that a death metal album with the same aesthetics and modus operandi of a band like Deathspell Omega doesn't quite do as much for me. There are moments on this where they completely nail the game of utterly chaotic metal - there's one riff in particular that sounds like a record is skipping, deliberately a quarter of a beat out, and it's genuinely unsettling. It gets deep within your innate emotions and plays with what you expect from music and is oddly captivating in that regard. But timbrally, I just can't get behind it. Death metal vocals, riffs and drums just aren't my cup of tea, no matter how black metal influenced they are. I can definitely see why this could be considered a pinnacle of its genre though.

5.9 (2nd listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog -

Report this review (#2691535)
Posted Saturday, February 12, 2022 | Review Permalink

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