On their new album False Peace, which is available now via the band’s own Lizard Brain Records, the Portland-area dissonant death metal group Aseitas present a powerfully captivating vision of a world that’s been strewn into chaotic disarray. The band includes an easily startling array of dynamic swings across their new album, which makes venturing into that metaphorical world feel like a journey inward, as if the band have leaped into forgotten psychological corners where shadowy figures lurk on both the individual level and in metaphorical collective consciousness.
The Foundation for False Peace
In other words — there’s a lot going on in here, but it’s focused on a kind of cathartically blistering intensity. The emotional footholds come in at points like the lengthy contemplative segue on “Spite/Sermon,” where the band bring their craft into a kind of sludgy territory, with methodically devastating rhythms that circulate with a sternly certain ferocity.
“Overall we tend to explore the darker, more dissonant sides of sound and mood,” the band’s drummer, Zach Rodrigues, explains. “We’re also very inspired by consonant and lush harmony, sounds and styles that evoke feelings of discovery or yearning for something more positive than the darkness. We like to have those extremes working in tandem, which some might see as unbalanced or erratic, but to us it’s just a reflection of our everyday existence. A good amount of it is hellish, absurd, and anxiety-inducing, but it has its peaks of greater purpose and understanding the human condition. For us, the way we compose is ultimately just a reflection of that dynamic, so we end up sounding all over the place to most people. To us it’s just our truest method of writing cohesive and comprehensive songs.”
Vocalist Nathan Nielson echoes Zach’s take on how the music reflects the band members’ “everyday existence.” Asked about the background for his lyrical compositions, he explains that he wrote about “mostly just what was on my mind at the time – self-loathing, feelings of failure and cowardice, abuse, disdain for the world and the conditions it has forced upon us, and letting the worst aspects of yourself make decisions for you.”
Putting the Pieces Together
Besides Rodrigues, Aseitas also features Nielson on lead vocals, PIPE, Organelle, Lyra-8, and guitar; Gage Dean on vocals, guitar, and bass; Jonah Badden on guitar; and Travis Forencich on fretless guitar, guitar, and noises. Meanwhile, besides the drumming, Rodrigues also performs on MS2000, other percussion, and piano.
If that description wasn’t enough to indicate the wide variety of sounds on the record, it’s hard to miss once diving in. False Peace ranges from the gritty industrial haze of the title track, which opens the record and clocks in at just under three minutes, to the epically earth-rattling song “Behemoth’s Dance,” which comes towards the end, features over 16 minutes of music, and runs on a mixture of ominously off-kilter rhythms that intertwine a core monstrous propulsion with fiery blasts that feel like flames leaping out of cracks in the earth. That particular song builds and builds — and towards the peak, shortly after the ten minute-mark, the song leaps away from abrasion into more lush (although still definitely intense) melody.
“Our songs come together in many different ways,” Rodrigues explains. “It’s a communal effort – usually most of us will have some kind of writing credit on any given track. Typically though, most of our songs start as riffs that Gage or Nathan write, which I further screw with or try to make sense of. Since we’re a very rhythm-centric band, it allows me to play songwriter a good amount of the time as well. Often I’ll just record rhythmic ideas on the kit and shoot them off for Gage to have his way with them. Those usually get interpreted differently from how I heard them, becoming more interesting as a result. Same goes for when I have my way with Gage’s or Nathan’s ideas. The foundations for our songs are more simple than they may seem; it’s how we shape and morph them that makes them click in an engaging way. We all have our special skills to contribute to the writing process, and it all gels pretty seamlessly at this point in our history playing music together.”
“The songs are rarely finished by the time we begin recording,” Rodrigues adds. “The general form and instrumentation are usually there, but we often wait to hammer out vocal/textural work until we’re in the studio, and sometimes it ends up being added last minute since we’re always thinking about how the songs could sound, rather than how they already sound. It’s a habit we’re definitely trying to curb, and we want to have more cohesive visions of songs before tracking future releases.”
Moving the Music Forward
Meanwhile, Nielson notes that there are definitely a good deal of fellow heavy bands who’ve caught the attention of Aseitas lately. “Lately our heavy rotations have included Serpent Column, Vitriol, Imperial Triumphant, Jute Gyte, Concrete Winds, Portal, Diabolic Oath, Plebeian Grandstand, Car Bomb, and Fawn Limbs, to name a few,” he shares.
Lately, there definitely seems to be a burgeoning community, however loosely connected, of extreme metal-adjacent bands who seem willing to follow their creativity wherever it may lead, no matter the musical contortions that may result.
“There are definitely a handful of extreme metal projects with “experimental” tendencies who enrich our listening experiences – Jute Gyte, Imperial Triumphant, Car Bomb, and Pyrrhon immediately come to mind,” Aseitas’s Gage Dean explains. “And of course an influx of unconventional approaches to extreme music would only help cultivate the genre. At the same time, I think it’s important for artists to disallow labels (even nebulous umbrella terms like “avant-garde” or “experimentalism”) from influencing their writing if the goal is true creative autonomy. We are very curious to see what the future holds for bands who continue to organically take extreme music in new directions.”
Photo via Sam Forencich
Listen to False Peace below! Translation Loss Records has a vinyl edition that’s coming out in September.