Album: Aseity: I – EP
Before you start reading into the joys that await in one of 2018’s finest progressive offerings, let’s explore the nature and meaning of the word Aseity. A term based in metaphysics and derived from the Latin equivalent to “of/from self,” Aseity is the principle by which an object exists purely from itself—not from any other exogenous influence or source. The term is often applied to God and other deities which are thought to contain the essence of their own being—they will themselves into being and sustain their own existence.
Lost yet? Well, if you aren’t, buckle up. There are both positive and negative “sorts” of Aseity, but I’m going to stop there—because when it comes to the comeback EP by UK progressive deathcore juggernauts Nexilva, the only Aseity they create is overwhelmingly positive. Even in spite of a frontman swap and a pretty sizeable time off, the band are back and brutalizing as if they never missed a beat, and the first installment of the Aseity EP series is a doozy. Catchy, scintillating and sinister all in one fell swoop, the band are an example of unstoppable aggression that balances brutality with an ethereal, beautiful side.
For the uninitiated, Nexilva are a progressive deathcore sextet based out of a city in the United Kingdom named Sutherland. While the UK commonly gets a wrap for dreary weather, rainy days and a periodically bland demeanor, Nexilva are absolutely anything but. With each release since their debut taking on a more technically tight-knit and progressively inclined sound, Aseity: I is absolutely no different. Built from Steve Padley’s punishing and ferocious percussion, the group bring everything from scathing, immense riffs to stunning orchestra-tinted moments of atmosphere to the table in a six-track release that clocks in just shy of half an hour. “Redeemed” and the lead single, “Decades,” do an excellent job in picking up where the band’s previous full length, Eschatologies, left off—part catchy, part crushing and completely mesmerizing, with Padley’s drumming running circles around the listener. Meanwhile, bassist Ryan Banks works non-stop at following Padley’s antics, adding depth and thickness to the mix without taking away from the more ambient elements that set the band apart. “Overview” is an excellent example of this—with symphonies that wind into slamming breakdowns without skipping a beat, Banks and Padley’s interplay remains tight as ever. Then, there comes the consideration of Nexilva’s true stopping power—their three guitarists who work in an unholy trifecta to rain down technicality, groove and brutality in equal doses. Guitarists Connor Jobes, Simon Atkinson and Chris Keepin are nothing but flawless in their effort to create entrancing and intricate music that doesn’t skimp on barbaric aggression—and if you need more convincing, see tracks like “A Temporal Divine” for more details.
Where many of Nexilva’s existing fan-base might be a little skeptical (especially if they’ve neglected the two singles from Aseity: I) will be the vocal element. A lineup change as drastic as switching vocalists has the potential to make huge changes in a band’s dynamic—so its natural to expect unease after the departure of Nexilva’s prior frontman, Gaz King. However, Dilan Alves, the new voice leading Nexilva’s immense instrumental onslaught is not just a suitable replacement, but a welcome addition to the band, bringing renewed energy and intensity with every syllable spit. Alves’ voice is monstrous, hitting grisly lows and screeching highs, ripping away with a candor that eloquently fits every groove and twist taken by Jobes, Atkinson and Keepin while still packing a hefty punch. Every track on the first installment in Aseity showcases Alves’ excellence, with diversity and endurance enough to make him stand out in a time where above-par vocalists are, truthfully, the “new par.”
Nexilva are one of my favorite acts from across the pond, and one of my favorite death metal/deathcore bands in general—so I was giddy, nervous and curious at the opportunity to give critical feedback to their comeback release, Aseity I. The conclusion? This is an EP you simply cannot afford to miss if you’re into any form of progressive metal—be it infused with deathcore, death metal, or none of the above. Reaching lofty atmospheric heights, moderate and bouncy grooves and abyssal depths, Nexilva are back, and in all honesty, better than ever.
For Fans Of: Martyr Defiled, TesseracT, Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, The Dali Thundering Concept
By: Connor Welsh