Acausal Intrusion – Nulitas Review

If I’m being truly honest, I have a difficult time with death metal. It feels unfair, as these acts rear their guttural heads on my AOTY’s yearly, but they’re often adjacent strains: black/death, dissonant tech-death, Lovecraftian, or other pretentiously experimental concoctions. But old school and Swedeath? Gimme somethin’ else, because I overthink the hell out of it: at the risk of sounding like my parents, it all sounds the same to me.1 However, a new weird death metal release from the label behind groups like Prometheus and Thecodontion? Acausal Intrusion, sign me the fuck up.

Acausal Intrusion is a brand-spankin’-new duo consisting of black metal band Feral Lord members Nythroth and Cave Ritual,2and Nulitas is being released through the aptly experimental I, Voidhanger Records. It truly fits the palette to a tee, recalling wonky death metal alum Ævangelist, Howls of Ebb, and Tchornobog in its slithering and squelching version take on the genre. Arrhythmic grooves, shifting tempos, ominous ambiance, and scathing dissonance combine in an infectiously toxic stew, grounded by some slammy pong snare and brutal gutturals. Acausal Intrusion needs time to flesh out its wonky elements and identity, but its chaotic unpredictability and insanely infectious otherworldly atmosphere makes this debut an impressive opener from an act capable of wreaking multidimensional havoc.

Reminiscent of its black metal past, Acausal Intrusion soars in its chaotic balance of wonky dissonance and lurching riffs, unwaveringly adherent to its pitch-black ambiance. Nulitas features an Ulcerate vibe in its twisty melodies and shifting tempos and time signatures, Suffering Hour’s free-verse approach, and Aseitas’ grinding, lurching tempos and rhythms, and Acausal Intrusion feels remarkably subtle in spite of the insanity. Tracks like “Nexious Shapeshifters” and “Manifesting Rites” offer the most upfront chunky riffs balanced by ominous plucking and atmospheric drumming, while “Invocations Apprehension” offer nearly epic flavors amid the pitch-black wonkiness. However, “Qabbalistic Conjoining Existence,” “Tetrahedron Quartz,” and “Nebulous Ceremonial Temple” are the real highlights in their dynamic ebb and flow songwriting. Featuring shifting sands and blasting riffs atop insane dissonance, they’re remarkably organic. They even feature some emotionally melodic clean guitar strums in which vulnerability rears its head briefly amid the filth, before descending once more into abysmal dissonance. Intro “Corpus,” and interludes “Animus” and “Nomen” are surprisingly well-placed in their swelling ambiance, giving a much-needed break as well as adding to the alien mood. In spite of the mammoth runtime, Nulitas feels remarkably evocative, its pitch-black dissonance and touches of synths providing the framework for otherworldly atmosphere to shine.

Just like the ever-divisive Ad Nauseam and Portal, Acausal Intrusion dwells in an extremely inaccessible realm of death metal. Their particular breed of esoteric density similar to Tchornobog or Altarage can be even more off-putting. Its atmospheric pong snare tone alongside its complex and spastic songwriting has a potential to sound out of place and off-putting. While it is utilized better than Plasmodium, for instance, thanks to a more balanced palette, the bright percussion is an initially stark contrast to the magma-thick grooves and haunting dissonance. Furthermore, clocking in at nearly an hour, this album is a bit of a chore. While the dynamics work in its favor, it’s nevertheless a demanding listen that requires a great deal of attention. As the album is all over the place nearly all of the time, there are very few opportunities for tiresome repetition, although the blaring synth atop “Nexious Shapeshifters” and the plodding riffs of “Transcending the Veil” grow old.

When I asked the illustrious Doom_et_Al about Acausal Intrusion’s similarity to Suffering Hour, he said “if it was shredded and then put back together by a malevolent 9 year old.” Nulitas recalls a fusion of Aseitas, Ulcerate, Suffering Hour, and even Coma Cluster Void, but none of these truly do justice to the absolutely bonkers and unpredictable tones that this new duo brings. More contemplative than Encenathrakh, cleaner than Altarage, and more dynamic than Tchornobog, I initially thought it would be easier to place than it ended up being, and I am so thrilled. While it certainly has its kinks to work out and lingers in the shadow of 2021’s Ad Nauseam and Suffering Hour, Nulitas is an absolute banger of death metal chaos and esoterica to which I will gladly return again and again. Atmospheric, devastating, and absolutely bizarre in infectious ways, if you’re needing a weird-ass death metal album, Acausal Intrusion will mightily satisfy.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Labels: I, Voidhanger Records
Releases Worldwide: May 21st, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. As if my preferred poison black metal offers the greatest variety ever.
  2. Who is also in like… everything.
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