As Bay Area-based composer NICK VASALLO – “The Father Of Deathcore” from notable technical death metal/deathcore outfits Antagony, Oblivion, and more – prepares to release his second metal/classical hybrid solo album, Apophany, through Neuma Records in March, a video for the immersive “When The War Began” has been made available.
With epic performances from a variety of university orchestras and new music ensembles, including Red Shift, Wild Rumpus, and The Living Earth Show, Apophany is as gritty as it is satisfying. This is music for the metaverse, bedroom headphones, and giant auditoriums, but maybe not the parlor.
Apophany was composed, produced, recorded, edited, mixed, by NICK VASALLO, and mastered by Zack Miley, Zack Ohren, and VASALLO except for the closing track, “Black Swan Events,” which was mastered by Erdem Helvacıoğlu. The album is completed with cover artwork by Claudatte Snyder, photography by Denise Vasallo, and design by Philip Blackburn.
“When The War Began” was performed by Redshift ensemble, with Jeff Anderle on clarinet and bass clarinet, Andie Springer on violin, Kate Campbell on piano, and Michelle Kwon on cello, the composition, as with the rest of the album, was composed by NICK VASALLO
Tune in and watch the immersive “When The War Began” video now at THIS LOCATION.
Neuma Records will release Apophany on CD and through all digital providers on March 18th. Find preorders at Bandcamp where the lead track “Ein Sof” as well as “Inches From Freedom” are streaming HERE, and see the “Inches From Freedom” video HERE.
If you were to connect seemingly unrelated things – heavy metal and the symphony orchestra, for example – you might be guilty of apophenia. That friction between opposites has never been a problem for NICK VASALLO, though – his music is equally at home in both worlds. Melding Xenakis, Varese, extreme metal, and dark ambient with gothic charm, VASALLO conjures up a muscular sonic battle that leads you on an inexorable musical journey to a conclusion where surrender is your best option.
Ten years in the making, catharsis comes as a relief in his new album, Apophany, the follow-up to his 2012-released Monuments Emerge. The new album presents nearly eighty minutes of varied orchestral and chamber works seared to the bone with a metal edge. It strikes with precision (VASALLO is a certified martial artist, after all) and uses a refined timbral palette with filmic orchestral mastery to powerful effect.
The programmatic themes in VASALLO’s titles combine sources of ancient wisdom with contemporary spiritualism. “The Eternal Return” refers to Nietzsche’s challenge to imagine that every action one makes will repeat for all eternity. This track leads to “The Moment Before Death Stretches On Forever, Like An Ocean Of Time” – a reference to the 1999 movie American Beauty; the monologue that closes with, “…and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.”
VASALLO delves, “Imagine five separate forces from different origins converging at the same time. It is a balance between synergy and anarchy. Each performer has a specific set of written instructions. They aren’t playing music in reaction to each other, but performing individual interpretations of a narrative I have laid out.”
Bay Area native NICK VASALLO picked up the electric guitar while in high school and formed Antagony, later credited as birthing a popular subgenre of metal music called “deathcore.” A graduate of California State University, East Bay, VASALLO completed his doctorate at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Honors include the American Prize, International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition, and the San Francisco Choral Artists New Voices award.