Greetings my dear congregation. While we normally try to find pairings that offer similar characteristics on this column, today is going to be a ceremony of opposites. Dark beer and dark music is my usual modus operandi, but on a day where it is literally 100 degrees out, dark syrup-y drinks are not going to work. Instead, something more palate cleansing is going to be on the menu. Let’s get down to business. The Metal: Impetuous Ritual’s Blight Upon Martyred Sentience. The Booze: Campanology Brewing’s Harmony Foretold.
The Metal: Impetuous Ritual’s Blight Upon Martyred Sentience
Lots of albums play at making dissonance and atonality their musical centerpiece, but absolutely no band achieves this on the level of Impetuous Ritual. This should come as no surprise, since the band shares members with the similarly bizarre death metal outfit Portal (my favorite metal band period). Where Portal are a more structured affair, Impetuous Ritual have always existed in the “murkier” world of death metal. Blight Upon Martyred Sentience, the band’s third full length album, sees Impetuous Ritual continue to push the limits of their frenzied and genuinely frightening death metal assault while simultaneously making their most accessible album to date. Make no mistake: the music here is darker and more hellish than any other death metal album I have heard in a long time, but the impact of all of this comes from a cleaner production that allows the off-kilter riffs, gurgling vocals, and frantic drum work to be much more easily discerned amidst the chaos. I liked their previous albums for the atmosphere they conjured, but I will cop to having large chunks of them wash over me due to the production being too cluttered. With a simple tweak, the full effect of this band has been unleashed, and that takes this album from good to astonishing.
The Booze: Campanology Brewing’s Harmony Foretold
As stated before, it’s hot as all hell in Southern California this week, so we will be staying away from more cloying drink options. I’m not sure I could find anything dark enough to match the intensity of Impetuous Ritual’s album anyway. So this week we are going with something unorthodox for me: wheat beer. Probably my least favorite style of brew, it takes a special something for me to enjoy a wheat ale, but Harmony Foretold is just that special something that a day like today demands. The secret is the cucumber flavor the beer is brewed with, giving a refreshing sweetness and clean finish to the drink without being cloying like other fruity wheat beers can be. Crisp and light, not overly yeasty or sweet, and deceptively strong, I may have found the wheat beer of my dreams here.
And so ends another rite of cleansing. The old week is burned off, and a new one rises from the ashes. I hope this week treats you better than the last, and all weeks to come. Until next time!
Cheers, and be good to each other,