Psychotic death chaos. This is what exudes from 2019's Hieroglossia, the third full-length album from this Australian band. It's actually been awhile (seven years) since these beasts destroyed me with their last one , Contragenesis, and their nihilistic, violently expressive energy remains as enveloping as it ever has. Ignivomous has been one of my favorite Aussie death metal bands for awhile, shaking off that now-pejorative "cavernous" cliche that has dogged so many of the bands from that region over the past fifteen years; these guys are clearly moved by the iconic Incantation-style of death metal that exists in the tangledd root-system of most of the Melbourne-area death metal scene, but just like most of their peers, Ignivomous push that aesthetic out into stranger, more nebulous fields of ectoplasm-smeared weirdness. Hell yeah.
A rush of crushing, repetitious-but-hypnotic riffing blows in from some sulfuric source, the music beginning its continuous progression from those catchy, grinding deeath mertal riffs into more off-kilter, more technical guitar structures, blurs of droning single-chord noise, the rhythm section sinuously shifting from powerful tempo changes to gonked-out breakdowns to angularized grooves with sharp edges. Starting with the title track, each song unfurls into a crazed riff-collage, putrescent guttural roars echoing and stretching over and through the roiling violence. Getting deeper into Hieroglossia reveals what seems like a newfound predeliction for more bizarre guitar textures and riff assemblage, sudden dropouts into these almost synthlike dirges. When the drummer lets 'er rip and goes nuclear with the blastbeats, the songs like "Circle of Scythes" and "Cloaked in Resplendent Perdition" can begin to blur into an almost impenetrable wall of noise; these moments are constrained for a portion of the album, releasing total chaotic destruction at the peak of these gonzo complex melodies and skronky riffs. It never gets into Gorgutsian levels of confusional craziness, but this is definitely a more experiemntal and expansive album than the flesheating murkstorms of the previous album Contragenesis. Which, naturally, has me droolin'all over it. Fans of more conventional death metal might get irked over the increasingly whacked-out song structures and eccentric riff sequences - there are more than a few moments on the albbum where the songs seem to lead, uh, nowhere, these really offbeat formations and non-sequiters that challenge anything along the lines of "traditional" death metal songcraft. which makes it a difficult listen in someways, even when the more flowing leads and lumbering, doom-laden grooves kick in. And the guitar solos reach some absurd heigjhts of intensity, complexity, and dissonance, not to mention being slimed all over these eight songs.
Honestly, I think Contragenesis is still my favorite album from the band so far, but the thorny insanity that Ignivomous delivere here is pretty undeniable. Some of the highlights for me included the razor-cyclone chaos of "Shackles of the Demiurge " and its wild lattice-work of hyperfast alien lead lines; the comparatively more straightforward pummelling that "Thalassophobia " delivers, while the drumming is relentless from beginning to end. "Blood & Mercury" evokes some of the alchemical imagery of previous work while clobbering you with what feels like you are listening to two copies of Onward To Golgatha, one playing forward, the other in reverse. "Gaunt Redemption Parasite" slips into an almost funereal doom-death crawl laced with stirring mournful leads and shifting rhythmic churn, then closes with a mysterious spoken word passage. And closer "Vitriolic Swarm " is the ultimate berserker eruption, blendin that blasting inchoate chaos and spine-snapping tempo/riff changes and confusiona time signnature and puzzling chord progressions all into one buzzing nightmare of outre death metal horror.