Ingurgitating Oblivion
Continuum of Absence

The ability to convey mood is a technique that may be lacking in metal more than it ever has.  As with any art form when it becomes oversaturated, the superficial elements that make up its basic skeleton get amplified over actual substance, making a hollow representation of what could have been a unique statement by each band exploring the sound while at the same time creating a free-for-all terrain where anyone with a trust fund and home recording equipment can overcome a void of legitimate artistic inspiration as long as their mimicking abilities were convincing and loud enough to get noticed.  While we should be thankful in a sense that more people are exploring metal than ever before, if you cannot create a mood, you probably shouldn’t be playing metal in the first place.

Those on the outside that want to jump in can no doubt hear what heavy is, what fast is and what “technical” is, but mood is something created by melody.  And melody has been dead in death metal for years.  I don’t mean in the European sense of pretty vs. ugly, but in the basic idea of what notes make up the phrases in a song.  The melodic aspects of what make up the mood of a song are an afterthought now.  If you get caught in a youtube vortex of endless slam bands that all have interchangeable songs you’ll know what I mean.  While every band in extreme metal is caught up in out heavying, fasting or teching each other, I’m left missing the days when I couldn’t predict where a melody would end when I heard it start.

You know, when metal felt, I don’t know, …..dangerous.

So, when I heard the name Ingurgitating Oblivion, I thought for sure upon hearing Continuum of Absence that I’d be getting a 40 minute slam-a-thon with predictable-sounding sweeps thrown in as compositional band-aids.  I’d forget it as soon as it was over,  and I’d have one more nail-in-the-coffin housing death metal’s creative spirit.  I was thankfully wrong about this, but not altogether wrong enough for me to fully praise the album.  And despite it not being what I expected, it doesn’t harness enough inspiration to keep it in my memory after it concludes.
This is all because of the band’s inability to create more than one mood.  If I had to tell you what it sounds like in as few words as possible, I could say it sounds like a band took the gross middle tapping riff of the song “Obscura” by Gorguts and stretched it across 47 or so minutes.  They have a cool sound, and if you like discordant music you should enjoy this record.  The performances are as flawless as you’d expect in the genre but while Gorguts sounds organic, this band despite being so obviously influenced by them sounds overly sterile.

The first notes of the record scared the fuck out of me, which is a very good thing, but the mood it establishes doesn’t divert from that opening riff once throughout the album’s duration.  I heard a bass guitar once in “Burden of Recurrence” and the opening to “Descent to the Temple” has an interesting interplay between the two guitarists to the point that I actually took note of the song as having a relatively stand-out idea, but the issue is that the notes they choose to comprise their songs all convey the same mood and because of that not one of them says something to the listener that another song hasn’t already.   The final track, “Stupendous, Featureless, Still” comes the closest to filling that void by being anchored by a genuinely dreary melody in much the same way that Ulcerate ended Of Fracture and Failure, but for the most part the band exhausts its entire musical palette over the course of the ten-and-a-half minute opening track “Eternal Quiescence.”

This isn’t something that is going to make or break the record for most listeners.  If you haven’t been a fan of discordant death metal for very long this may come off as a jarring exploration into completely uncharted territory for you.  I will admit, they are talented enough to earn the right to be listened to by the metal underground and I do hope they develop their sound enough to the point where each song they write can have its own identity in the future.  I do however firmly believe that if you can’t create a unique mood for every song on your album, you should only make one-song records.  I can’t think of a time in metal when physical ability and creative inspiration were more skewed than right now, but a band like Ingurgitated Oblivion could reset the scale if they spent more time developing multiple unique facets to their sound and presentation.

Changing that awful name would be a good start.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jerry Hauppa
February 16th, 2015

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