Back in mid-June we had the pleasure of premiering a lyric video for a song called “The Pale Beast” off the debut album by the Tacoma, Washington band Aethereus, whose progressive approach to death metal fluidly combines atmospheric, technical, and melodic aspects of the genre with compelling results. Back then, the release date for Absentia seemed a frustratingly long way off, but now it’s out, having hit the streets on August 10th via The Artisan Era. And to help spread the word, we’re again fortunate to bring you a video for another one of the album’s marvelous tracks, “That Which Is Left Behind“.
To put the song in context, “That Which Is Left Behind” appears sixth in a nine-track running order, within an album that (as the band explain) is “loosely structured around the Kübler-Ross Five Stages of Grief (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance)”. Moved by the death of the band’s original bassist Shaun Hansen, the band chose to compose and arrange the album in a way that follows the stages of grief “and describes the experience of losing a loved one and the lasting impact that person’s absence has on an individual, a group, and life as a whole”.
Aethereus cite influences that include Obscura, Spawn of Possession, Cynic, and Gorod, and both the creativity and technical mastery of those groups are indeed brought to mind by this song.
“That Which Is Left Behind” is a multi-textured and dynamic piece — daunting and dreamlike, harrowing and haunting, jarring and soft, bleak and bright, intricate and intriguing. It combines the interplay of warm, burbling bass notes and mercurial dual-guitar machinations, the guitarists expelling their sounds in bewildering, rapidly darting flurries. The song further features ferocious but nuanced drumwork and vocals that channel the passion of the music in ferocious roars and anguished shrieks.
You get an early hint of the band’s tendency to engage in dramatic variations, and they do so again later in the song through an instrumental interlude that includes crystalline harmonies, both smooth and flashing, as well as an attention-grabbing, fret-spanning solo.
The video, directed and filmed by Gabe Roberts (Eris Films) interleaves footage of the band throwing themselves into the performance of the song with scenes of a begowned young woman (Shelby Johnson) amidst the varied landscapes of Puget Sound, seeking or perhaps fleeing, and ultimately launching herself into frigid gray waters. (And if you know anything about the water temperature in this part of the country, you’ll know that took some nerve.)
As noted, Absentia is out now, and you can get it here: