An already experimental band further raising the bar is one of the most impressive feats in modern death metal. We’ve experienced this with each new Pyrrhon release, and it looks like Imperial Triumphant is developing into a similar habit. What’s perhaps more amazing about this trend are the unique, twisted trajectories that bands in this genre niche have taken. Whether you call it dissonant tech death, avant-garde metal, or skronk, the subgenre has quickly outgrown the “fad” phase and become a full-blown movement of artistic ingenuity within metal’s most extreme subgenre. A couple years removed their excellent self-titled debut, we can now confidently add Aseitas to this exclusive club.
What grabbed me most on Aseitas was the band’s affinity for a groove-forward approach. Whereas their genre peers aim to blast and noodle into oblivion, Aseitas channeled all the intensity and aggression of the subgenre into pummeling, dissonant riffs that hit like a stomp rather than a sprint. Aseitas accompanied the heaviness with prevalent melodic and atmospheric passages, making for one of the most unique and well-rounded releases I’d heard from the genre in some time.
Aseitas have grown in every category on False Peace, shattering the notion of a sophomore slump. Enhanced production elevates the band’s chaotic grooves, which sound like more sinister and heavier versions of Car Bomb and Ion Dissonance riffs channeled through a tech death lens. There’s also a notable dedication to industrial metal in the vein of Godflesh, both in the band’s riffs and some extended noise-laden passages. The result is a more intense record that perfectly contains the band’s chaotic tendencies while still allowing them to devastate the listener’s senses. It feels like being slowly lowered into lava inch by inch while stuck in a cage made from jagged, unpolished obsidian.
The album begins with an anxiety-inducing, feedback-heavy beat, like the missing link between Godflesh and Jesu. It’s a perfect build-up for the all-out assault Aseitas launch into on “Scalded,” which sees the band leveraging the improved production and pulling out a few new ideas. Most notably is the prominent use of blast beats on the track, which are well-placed so as to compliment the groove-oriented approach rather than move the band’s sound closer to the genre mean. If you want to test the waters before diving into False Peace, “Scalded” is a near-perfect summation of the auditory devastation awaiting you.
And yet, no one track can fully encapsulate the directions Aseitas take their sound. “Impermanence” has the punky, mathcore energy of a Car Bomb track, while “Horse of Turin” leans into the atmospheric and melodic tendencies they established on their debut. While seemingly at odds with the band’s crushing grooves, it actually serves as an effective counterbalance, especially with the final crescendo that ultimately devolves into a blistering cacophony of crashing guitars. On “Chrism,” the band trades their heavy grooves for panic chords, with a main riff that’s about as catchy as you can get in the broader mathcore universe.
While Aseitas have always had a penchant for crafting extended compositions, the latter half of False Peace stretches their songwriting well past the ambitious tracks on their debut. “Spite/Sermon,” “Blood Into Oil,” and “Behemoth’s Dance” take listeners on dense sonic journeys, with short tracks in between allowing only a taste of respite before the next quest commences. Each of these tracks dips into different but adjacent territory, with heavier grooves akin to a death-doom version of Meshuggah and atmospheric and post-metal flirtations you might find on an Ulcerate record. There are some nice experiments thrown into the mix as well, particularly the solo piano that closes out “Blood Into Oil.” Even the shorter interludes add depth to the album’s sound, such as the combination of sliding math rock guitar and hand drumming that closes out the proceedings on “Pieces.”
The one caution I’ll convey regarding False Peace is its run time. At just under an hour and fifteen minutes, it’s a hefty listen, especially considering how dense and abrasive the music is throughout. In my view, the album is well worth the investment, and I encourage any fan of off-kilter death metal to give this a shot as soon as possible. Just be prepared to buckle down and truly digest what Aseitas have to offer on each track. There’s a great deal of immediate enjoyment but far more deep-seeded value to discover as well, and a passive listen won’t provide the full picture of what Aseitas have accomplished here.
But to be clear, this point bears repeating: False Peace is a sophomore triumph that surpasses the lofty expectations the band established on their debut. Given the complexity of their sound, there was no way of predicting how Aseitas would elevate their unique brand of groove-oriented dissonant tech death. The reality the band have unleashed capitalizes on this blend of influences to produce something far more fully realized, with an extended sonic palette pulling in shades of industrial and post-metal to compliment a more robust approach to avant-garde death metal. Or to put it in simpler terms, False Peace is a collection of nonstop bangers you need in your life immediately.