Review Summary: Still don't know what that title means.
In their efforts to out-murk themselves, Impetuous Ritual have plunged even further down the rabbit hole of extremes, with their latest opus pushing the fold about as much anything can whilst eschewing gimmickry. Sure, stylistic dead ends and diminishing returns are becoming a real prospect for Impetuous Ritual now, but they still sound rather novel in that few if any have taken this style as far as them. Though limits in death metal may seem to contradict the genre's very ethos, if Blight Upon Martyred Sentience
doesn't represent some kind of apex, it's damn close.
This album acts as a canvas upon which you can project your own visions of Hell, at times functioning like dark-ambient-via-blackened-death. The dichotomy between “Void Cohesion”, the opener, and “Apoptosis” is potent – the former staggering at a snail’s pace while its brisk and frenetic sequel begins the wanton devastation. Embroiled in the utter chaos are thunderous, tremolo-picked guitar lines that are both technically sharp but also brutishly violent, coupled with atonal guitar solos that serve little purpose but to intensify the bedlam surrounding them. As is often the case with music as turbulent and opaque as this, impressions will change from one spin to the next. At first, the only thing enrapturing about the album is simply how bludgeoning it is, but as the riff and drum patterns come to the fore, it’s evident that Blight of Martyred Sentience
is far more than just sonic debauchery.
That said, I'd be hard pressed to blame anyone for giving up, because this album is sibilant, fatiguing and when even halfway cranked, probably deafening. The resonant and filthy tones may be evocative, but they go on to punish the listener for trying to decipher their minutiae thanks to the master. This is a shame as the mix itself is perhaps the best Impetuous Ritual have had so far – combining the viscera of their debut with the earth-shattering bottom end of their sophomore. When the appeal of an album centres as much on aesthetic and sound
as it does composition and instrumentation, it’s maddening to hear an album stifled, not by technical limitations, but a creative decision to have everything be as loud as possible.
Sadly, the fatigue and disinterest that may ensue can make one overlook this being, in reality, the most diverse Impetuous Ritual album so far. “Sullen” brings the tempo down to a crawl, distinguishing the faster tracks that bookend it; “Untoward Evocation” is also a paradoxical mix of lethargy and fervour, switching between the two in a manner as irregular as the atmosphere is malevolent. “Intransience”, the closer, employs more moderate pacing and even has a trickle of easy-to-recall progressions, riffs and melodies, morose as they may be. The latter feels as though it was forged from day-dot as a closing act, showing a level of artistic finesse that one may think is lost on Impetuous Ritual at a first glimpse – don't be fooled. Blight Upon Martyred Sentience
is death metal at its most volatile whilst hiding multiple facets, satiating musical desires both studious and primal.