Aseitas – False Peace Review

Aseitas are the Northwest’s death metal answer to the Northeast’s black metal alchemists in Genevieve, twisting the most experimental threads of metal into sleeker, stronger songs. The Portland quintet’s eclectic experiments began with 2018’s Aseitas, a record that seemed woven from every strand of extreme metal’s experiments in the decade before it. Aseitas introduced the time-bending rhythms of Meshuggah and Car Bomb to the ossicle-rattling tones of Ulcerate and Baring Teeth and delivered them in churning grooves worthy of Gojira or Dying Fetus. Their sophomore record continues that successful synthesis. Careful listeners will find reference to nearly every one of the trailblazing bands in or at the margins of 2000s and 2010s death metal and could name-drop a rolodex to explain the genealogy of False Peace.

But for all its debts, False Peace is without doubt an Aseitas record. After a brief introduction, Aseitas fire off four tight songs that bend death metal into knotted new shapes. Riffs careen wildly, songs tumble down twisting gulleys; fretless guitar leads ripple through blackened squalls, jagged riffs, and placid melodies. In “Scalded,” guitars roar, squeal and shriek through a pile-up of misshapen rhythms before Nathan Nielson delivers corrosive retches and tectonic rumbles over an impossibly thick hardcore groove. “Impermanence” packs in more jagged blows before “Horse of Turin” introduces some atmosphere among the mayhem with a foreboding post-metal bridge. Zack Rodriguez fits in a thousand battering blasts and careful drum fills, adding a weight and depth of texture that make these songs doubly compelling. With the dilated tempos and squealing groove of “Chrism,” the band cap twenty minutes of the young decade’s most assaultive death metal.

After “Chrism,” False Peace changes pace, throwing itself around three lengthy but compelling songs in “Spite/Sermon,” “Blood into Oil,” and “Behemoth’s Dance.” Whether spitting venom or sliding through starlight, these songs twist their battered vertebra into shapes that only Aseitas would think to trace. “Spite/Sermon” repeats a groove that spirals inwards, becoming more constricted with each twist, and between its coils pieces of the curves remain. Each time the theme repeats, it’s in a different scene and ends in a new direction. The band are at their most experimental in “Blood into Oil,” retreating from a placid glade into a Hadean catacomb and even further from there – lurking deep within is the album’s cruelest trick on listeners. Later, in sixteen minutes that stretch back through every crack and crevice that False Peace has entered, “Behemoth’s Dance,” makes for a spectacular album climax.

All these massive songs make for an extremely long album, and there are a few spots where False Peace hits a snag or stretches itself too thin. The bleary, reverb-drenched atmospheric passages that made Aseitas such an oddball record are well-utilized inside songs like “Horse of Turin” and “Spite/Sermon,” but both those songs, “Blood into Oil,” and the album itself, end with unrelated guitar or piano melodies that feel tacked-on. And much as I enjoy the Pyrrhon/The Body mash-up of the intro track, it’s a poor representation of what’s to come12. Removing these would streamline False Peace, and the four-minute noise experiment of “The Value of Degradation” should be sliced off with them. The album would still stretch to nearly an hour with those modifications, but it would be far more coherent and effective. It’s obvious that Aseitas have more ideas than could fit into a shorter album, but including them all makes False Peace seem less a coherent whole than a vessel for every scrap of music the band developed in the last two years.

An album this creative and vibrant deserves a more discerning edit, but with imperfections intact, False Peace remains an impressive record. Its most ambitious songs hold up just as well as the cutthroat rampages that kick off the album, and it’s only along the margins – in outros, intros, and interludes – that the band stretch themselves too thin. Just as in their debut, Aseitas are more than capable of making long songs, and a long record, compelling and memorable despite how experimental they are at smaller scales. Fretless guitar, stretched tempos, and dense noise all play integral roles in organic and interesting songs, feeling more vital and natural on False Peace than on some of the records that inspired it. Despite the record’s imperfections, it’s difficult to come away from False Peace not believing that this is an early glimpse at the future of death metal.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Lizard Brain Records/Translation Loss Records
Websites: | |
Releases Worldwide: July 10th, 2020

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Though I would kill to hear that collaboration record… (hint hint)
  2. I hear Chip King reads our site religiously because of our thorough coverage of his musical exploits.
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