Originally known as Death Heaven, these Italian technical death metallers have rebranded themselves with a new moniker and a new style of playing as well. '07's Viral Apocalypse was considered a pure death metal record, whereas this disc is far more artistic. There's nothing wrong with traditional death metal, but this is an album which certainly took a great deal of time to acomplish and the structures within it are nothing short of amazing. It's not even about the heavy sections of the disc, as those really don't seem to sell it for me. Instead, I think I'm getting a more abstract and unique perfomance here, similar to Ephel Duath except a little easier to follow. Andrea and Matteo more or less decorate these songs in the most obscure almost Dali-esque fashion, making this record almost a literal musical interpretation of surrealism. There are certainly burly moments to be found and the drumming can get a little fiery at times, but for the most part you are going to be exposed to the kind of performance that demands multiple listens. There are even sections on this record that I can't even describe in a sane manner, they seem to remind me of horror film scores and have a great deal of what I'd say are cello/violin influence. For some odd reason, the screech of a cello still works to send shivers down my spine and that doesn't change with this album. Gorguts fans will definitely want to get their hands on this, and I'll add that I've certainly enjoyed this record a fair bit more than anything from Gorguts as of late. It feels as if you're swirling through a void at times, which make the experience something of a hallucination.
Towards the latter half of the record, the performance becomes a bit more rough-edged and perhaps doesn't appeal to me as much as the first couple of cuts, but this might be the kind of material that death metal fans were expecting. After all, not everyone wants Picasso or Escher from a death metal act and that I can understand. Personally though, I think that these unexpected references are what makes the music so interesting to me as a whole. I use the term “atmosphere” quite a bit, but that is definitely the feeling I'm getting from this one. Perhaps I can't quite understand the harsh vocal elements, but it's about being immersed inside of this awesome atmosphere that seems to go every which way possible, branching outwards into several different directions all at once as it seeks to nearly transcend the boundaries of death metal. It's nearly avant-garde in some instances, yet stays grounded in the death metal world thanks to the machine-gun drumming and pounding bass riffs. Ad Nauseam still play by the rules, but they have no problem coloring far out of the lines and even creating a completely different picture on the other side of the page. Say what you want, but there just aren't many bands out there quite like this and I'd definitely consider giving a couple of tracks a listen here, so that you can see for yourself just what an awesomely unique act this is. It is true that they wear some of their influences on their sleeves, but even so, it all comes together to make an impressive death metal album. If you haven't hear this one yet, then you probably need to.
(8 Tracks, 55:00)