Ad Nauseam
Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est


4.5
superb

Review

by Jacquibim STAFF
April 28th, 2015 | 497 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A musical conundrum of the highest calibre.

Although it was usually a call for admiration some two decades ago, a metal band boasting extreme technical skill on their debut album is rather common these days. Understandably, the listeners’ enthusiasm for frequent tempo changes, odd time signatures and ostentatious arpeggios played at inhuman speeds has waned, and many bands hoping to distinguish themselves from the crowd are pushing the fold of innovation to the extreme. However, avoiding the perennial comparisons to Gorguts and/or Deathspell Omega seems to be a challenge for just about any band that opts for a complex and dissonant take on either death or black metal. Ad Nauseam aren’t immune, either. From the opening measures of “My Buried Dream”, it’s clear that the aforementioned acts have had a profound influence on the Italian four-piece, but Ad Nauseam manage to mould their influences into something that is faithful yet idiosyncratic, with an intensity that few can match.

The level of proficiency displayed on Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est comfortably usurps my ability to dissect and analyse the theory behind it in any great detail. Unorthodox chord progressions and chromatic leads constitute a good portion of the guitar work, bearing resemblances to that of acts such as Ulcerate, Artificial Brain and even Portal, but sounding imitative of none of them. Ad Nauseam combine the visceral, bludgeoning and oppressive nature of their contemporaries with an academic panache. This is enriched by the inclusion of atonal backing strings reminiscent of composers like Alfred Schnittke, exhibited most vividly in the closing minutes of “Key to Timeless Laws”. Now, lacing your compositions with string sections that flirt with serialism can very easily come across as contrived and pseudo-intellectual, but the manner in which the band integrates them is both tasteful and mercifully sporadic. With the bells and whistles confined to climaxes and interludes, the core instrumentation still drives the majority of the album, skirting the line between accessibility and total bedlam but never drifting too close to either end of the spectrum.

Underneath the disorienting presentation are arrangements that have been methodically composed, revised and fine-tuned. Each song is rapidly evolving into something different, and though refrains and hooks are present, they can be rather difficult to decipher on account of the eccentric material and seamless transitions. Thus, it probably comes as no surprise that Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est requires several astute listens before everything begins to unravel in a way that makes sense. Yes, it can still feel a little disorderly at times, but any such moments are few and far between. Aural respite comes in the form of melodic ceases, in which notes and chords often ring freely to create a palpable air of suspense, before the band shifts into gear and repeatedly catches you off-guard. The inclusion of these musical ceasefires also brings to light how beautifully produced the album is - each instrument has an equitable place in the mix, as well as crisp and clear yet organic timbres across the board. Combine the acute balance and rich textures with spacious mastering and you have what is arguably the best death metal album of 2015, so far.

With the amount of time and dedication that Ad Nauseam have clearly expended here, it would be a shame for this opus to be dismissed as just another Obscuracore product, because it is so much more than that. Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est is a labyrinth of an album that takes time and patience to absorb, and should you afford it just that, your efforts will surely be reconciled.



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user ratings (138)
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
osmark86
April 28th 2015


9298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sounds worth having. Will check this out Jac.

ShadowRemains
April 28th 2015


25072 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ok this is cool, sounds like from wisdom to hate blended with ulcerate

zaruyache
April 28th 2015


21398 Comments


I'll try to check this later. Ghost pos.

Digging: Death Toll 80k - Step Down

SpiritCrusher2
April 28th 2015


6188 Comments


30 seconds into the second track, and not sure if the riff reminds me more of Shrine of Mad Laughter or Caecus

Totengott
April 28th 2015


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool review, listening to this right now and it's pretty nice.

YakNips
April 28th 2015


19874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

niiiiiice glad you reviewed



love this

ShadowRemains
April 28th 2015


25072 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

btw malthusian's new ep destroys shit

CaptainDooRight
April 28th 2015


4118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

book

Digging: Creeping Death - Wretched Illusions

Funeralopolis
April 28th 2015


14366 Comments


excellent album and review

Digging: Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race

Vetimus
April 29th 2015


809 Comments


Malthusian have a new ep out? HOLY SHITE!

osmark86
April 29th 2015


9298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this sounds like an unholy lovechild of Gorguts and DsO as you touched upon (at least the inevitable comparisons) Jac. loveliness aplenty.

ShadowRemains
May 1st 2015


25072 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

into the void eye is awesome

BadgerU
May 11th 2015


13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The one two punch of Into the Void Eye, and Terror Haze was what initially sold me on this. Those string interludes are so eery it's Satan.

VisionsFromTheDarkSide
May 12th 2015


2431 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review and a fucking awesome record

Psynuts
May 13th 2015


373 Comments


This is actually really good,its a breath of fresh air in this genre. I love the drums and the vocals on this album.

ShadowRemains
May 13th 2015


25072 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this needs more attention

tempest--
May 28th 2015


20633 Comments


this has a very unsettling atmosphere, i think due to all the weird sound effects and that string section and things like that. it sounds like an awesome sci-fi alien cthulhu horror movie.

BadgerU
May 28th 2015


13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is the metal I would expect to hear while wandering The Twilight Zone

Hawks
June 5th 2015


73696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is fucking crazy.

osmark86
June 18th 2015


9298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

can't agree more. gave it a go again and it's really a fantastic album. I can see it being in heavy rotation this year and possibly years to come.



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