Bay Area-based multi-instrumentalist NICK VASALLO, known from such notable technical death metal/deathcore outfits as Antagony, Oblivion, and more, presents his second metal/classical hybrid solo album, Apophany. Confirming the album for March release through Neuma Records, the track listing, cover art, preorders, and a video for the lead single “Inches Away From Freedom” have been issued.
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.”
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.
Composed and produced by NICK VASALLO, Apophany was recorded, edited, mixed, and mastered by VASALLO, Zack Miley, and Zack Ohren, 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.
A video for the lead single advancing Apophany, “Inches Away From Freedom” showcases NICK VASALLO joined by The Living Earth Show, ORE, Gleb Kanesevich, and John McCowen.
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.”
Neuma Records will release Apophany on CD and through all digital providers on March 18th. Find preorders at Bandcamp where the lead track “EinSof” as well as “Inches From Freedom” are streaming HERE.
Stand by for additional audio and video previews of the album to be issued over the weeks ahead.
Apophany Track Listing:
1. Ein Sof
2. When The War Began
3. The Prophecy
5. The Eternal Return
6. The Moment Before Death Stretches On Forever, Like An Ocean Of Time…
8. Inches Away From Freedom
9. Black Swan Events
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.