Aseitas - False Peace review


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Band: Aseitas
Album: False Peace
Release date: July 2020

01. False Peace
02. Scalded
03. Impermanence
04. Horse Of Turin
05. Chrism
06. Spite/Sermon
07. Crucible
08. Blood Into Oil
09. The Value In Degradation
10. The Behemoth's Dance
11. Pieces

It's a fairly herculean task to set oneself: for your sophomore record, write a 70-minute avant-garde death metal record that remains consistently engaging throughout. Have Aseitas pulled it off? Not quite, but they've gotten closer than anyone could reasonably expect.

I'm not going to spend any time on background, as I need all the word count that I can get to describe False Peace. After the noisy, heavily distorted opening title track, there are a burst of four songs that see Aseitas flirt with a staggering number of different musical styles in less than 20 minutes. Aseitas play death metal, but with deathcore, mathcore, grindcore, sludge, doom, groove, and whatever the hell else you want to throw into the mix. "Scalded" is one of several tracks where the influence of the maniacs in Car Bomb comes through, but you also get some Gojira grooves and pick-scraping, Remission-era Mastodon-style fiery sludge, contorted tech-y riffs, filthy dirges, frantic blasting, and more. If that's not enough, let's throw in some demented classic death metal-style soloing, mathcore riffing and dirty death metal grooves on "Impermanence".

That's not enough for you? How about some relentless stop-start riffing on "Horse Of Turin", with some deathcore-style grooves, and just to keep things interesting, maybe a lengthy semi-melodic atmospheric stretch in the second half. Or perhaps the squealing guitars, panic chords and deathcore breakdowns of "Chrism" will appeal? I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of some of these songs; it's such a dense maelstrom of different extreme metal and -core approaches, and it makes for a hell of an opening third.

And yet it feels like an opening half; despite these songs taking up less than a third of the album's runtime, the move from "Chrism" to "Spite/Sermon" feels like a major dividing line in False Peace. This is because after a dense, fast-paced barrage of intensity, the whole framework shifts. There's no pause for breath in this first 'half', but the rest of the album alternates between short interlude/outro pieces and three colossi exceeding 10 minutes in "Spite/Sermon", "Blood Into Oil" and "Behemoth's Dance". The first of these, "Spite/Sermon", sees those hints of more atmospheric post-metal leanings from "Horse Of Turin" grow in prominence, with a vicious chaotic opening soon making way for a slow, quiet, clean procession. The rest of this song mainly alternates between quiet stretches and some absolutely viciously grim slow sludgy/deathy stomping grooves, over which the lead guitars do some really interesting stuff.

One thing that really begins to stand out as the record progresses is the quality of Aseitas's use of lead guitar, with it providing a number of memorable moments. "Blood Into Oil" kicks off, just like "Spite/Sermon" signs off, with some quiet clean guitar, with even some post-rock tremolo brought in for a pleasant cameo. After this, the rest of the song is a cacophony of tech, doom and death overlapping in variously morphing slow trudges, over which a long-ass solo morphs from something positively uplifting into something increasingly demented, even as the song fades out and in again. "Behemoth's Dance", which again sees Aseitas stick to the slow lane and assault listeners with disgusting grooves, chugs and sonic barrages, also sees some tasteful soloing. It acts as a really interesting contrast to the sheer vulgarity of the low-end coming from the rest of the band, and helps make these longer songs palatable.

I said in the intro that Aseitas didn't quite succeed at keeping this engaging throughout, and the reality is something this chaotic and acerbic becomes really draining over such a long period of time. There are brief interludes, but even these are often quite abrasive ("The Value Of Degradation"'s distorted noise serving as a good example), and the occasional cleaner patches in the longer songs add welcome contrast, but they also feel a bit underdeveloped, as if the band realized they needed some degree of levity to stop listeners becoming completely exhausted. Each long song in isolation is accomplished, but the combination of them is a bit much, especially as all of them, but particularly the last two, lean more and more into lower, grimmer, pulverizing dirges, rather than the faster tempos and catchier grooves that pop up in the earlier tracks. Whilst there's not really one song in particular to point out as a weak point, realistically a trim of the largely excellent "Behemoth's Dance" and the loss of one of "Spite/Sermon" or "Blood And Oil" could have been to False Peace's benefit.

That last paragraph was a bit of a downer, but really, False Peace is a hugely impressive album; Aseitas have synthesized an array of influences into something unique and compelling, and whilst I wouldn't say I 'enjoy' listening to something this abrasive, I admire it greatly. I also enjoy the out-of-nowhere mellow outro piece "Pieces", just clean guitar and percussion seeing out the record after the overwhelming experience that is "Behemoth's Dance". Overall, Aseitas could potentially benefit from trimming things down on their next record, but all the components on display on False Peace indicate that Aseitas could become a major force to be reckoned with in the extreme metal scene.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 8


Written on 28.07.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not

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