Deadspace - ''Man knows absolutely nothing at all''
Deadspace have always pursued the very limits of extreme music until their self-imposed demise in 2020. All avenues appeared to have been explored from their early DSBM roots to the power of The Grand Disillusionment and the doom infused labyrinth that is A Portrait of Sacrificial Scars. They are a band that is utterly uncompromising and steadfast to an intellectual ideal. Any return would have to be nothing short of astonishing to continue. The brief, yet breathtaking appearance of Unveiling the Palest Truth heralds a new era and marks the rebirth of Deadspace that is relentless and staggering in its aggressive complexity. It is simply stunning in its delivery of malevolent violence and a renewed passion as Vocalist Chris Gebaur explains.
‘’It was actually instigated by the new material I was working on at the time. With the band in the past, I had time to really sit down and push things in the direction that I wanted my music to go in for a long while. It never really eventuated because I felt a little bit restrained by expectations regarding what Deadspace was already supposed to sound like or resemble. Not having that in my head, I was able to just write music that I liked, not realising that even though it was free of consignment, it was still unmistakably Deadspace. It was just a much more mature and wiser version of it. I have a small family of people online that I regularly share my demos with, and the feedback was pretty much unanimous that it seemed impossible for me to escape the spirit the band embodied, even in my newer endeavours. The band was simply unescapable. So, after fighting the idea for some time, I took these demos to the guys, who were still great friends, but we weren't playing music together at the time, and showed them what I had concocted. It was decided that this new direction had life in it and would not pigeon-hole us into continuing down a path that would take us back to where we had started. So, we got together, and we developed these ideas into finished songs, with the final result sort of becoming the test to determine whether we would pursue this again. With these tracks solidified, the "Moksha" track (which was an old idea that suited the previous material more than the latter) was released as a final 'purge' of that style. It provided some closure that I personally needed, as I never want to play that kind of music again. It's crazy because that song really took off and we realised that the task of reinvention ahead of us would be a much harder and longer slog than we first imagined. But here we are, running at it, fearlessly, at full speed.
Unveiling the Palest Truth is quite different. Did the break help you redefine the sound you were going for?
''I think one of the main reasons for the breakup was that we couldn't imagine a world that would accept that a band like Deadsapce were now doing something so different (for us at least). To frame that statement, Deadspace started when we were all quite young and definitely was not in the ballpark for average black metal fans or people with more sophisticated avant-garde tastes. We always had the love for this stuff and the technical ability to do it, but it is always a difficult thing to take a band that is iconic for a certain sound, and then to completely change face. At the end of some long discussions we realised, hey you know what, we're musicians and we should be able to do what we please, as long as we only have to make this statement once and with full conviction. We expect this release to scare off a few older fans that simply don't get it, and as much as we would never turn our back on, or alienate our audience, we just ask these people to please respect that fact that we are simply staying true to our own desires.
It is also incredible lean and intense.
''Exactly that. We were more concerned with chewing off every little millimetre of fat than we were about boasting a long runtime. It was originally meant to be an EP, and arguably, it is. We wouldn't be mad if people considered it to be too short to be an album. The reason we decided to release it as an album is because it was more or less written as a philosophical dissertation, an enquiry and theorisation on the nature of human happiness in the context of a pre-determined plan of extinction. This treatise is indeed complete at the end of the last track and adding anything more to this discussion seemed superfluous and irrelevant.
It is still Black metal, but it is also something else.
''It definitely fits quite comfortably under the black metal umbrella. This being said, the type of avant-garde that we engage with now is often a bridge that connects black metal with death metal, almost in a way that the obscurity becomes the genre itself and makes the black/death delineation unnecessary/unwarranted. But then there is also the post metal influence as well which is still somewhat present, but not in the way it was on previous efforts. Most of the post metal bands that we draw influence from are still quite dissonant, bands like Throane (France) and Au Dessus (Lithuania). So even the more melodic aspects of sound are coming from a place where black meets death and drone under this idea of dissonance.
The overall theme of life and mortality on the record using Aristotle’s Aristotelian form as its basis?
''Yes and no. The record posits that mankind is pre-installed with a planned obsolescence and that the very contract between man and nature is one of destruction itself. It suggests that the strive for happiness, which is in fact akin to Aristotle's eudaimonia (because I believe this is more valid on a societal scale than hedonistic ponderings), may be a major catalyst in humanity expediting or accelerating towards its disastrous contractual fulfillment. So, there is that notion of Aristotelian value within the piece, but it would be naive not to recognise a Nietzschean paradigm underscoring the entire discussion, particularly as the record is concerned with a setting that is already well into apocalyptic measures. It is also very Bataillean as it addresses the accursed share directly. The basis of philosophy is wisdom, and wisdom often leaves knowledge in conceptual disrepair. The more we think, the less we know, and that is exactly what this release explores. To quote the title track, “any man who professes fulfillment must not be mistaken for a higher being but regarded as a superior liar.” How is it that we have only just started to wake up to the fact that it's been over for so long? Perhaps it is because we believe this lie that we control happiness.
Is this where the chaos of the record is borne?
''I'm not entirely sure how it was first conceived. I did a four-year degree in English literature, history, and philosophy while writing this record. It caused me to seek the development of a better moral code and repent for past behaviour that betrayed it, but I also could not bury the feeling of dread I've long felt. If anything, it helped me materialise all of my own despair into a vehicle that could be expressed concisely and productively. With this band, I aim to write something that directly gives a voice to the voiceless. I know it may be viewed as a selfish and unhelpful way to do so, but it's the only power I can grasp as a musician and poet. The record strives to provide a collective identity for those who have been disenfranchised, disillusioned, and dehumanised by our species and its inevitable social gravedigging.
The dismissal of axiomatic reality? Hasn’t language always existed prior to history in different forms, and it doesn’t require the proof as it is evident in itself?
''Yes, but that's not the meaning of an axion. What I'm saying is that we can hypothesise about truth, but on honest reflection, we find that most ‘truths’ become relative. One of the only axioms we believe is that we die. But then there are even modus tollens arguments which address whether we even live. For if we do not live, and it is true that only something that is alive can die, we cannot really die. Other arguments regarding afterlife or cyclical existence like reincarnation also blur the lines concerning what we can regard as an axiom. Man knows absolutely nothing at all.
What are the ‘’ times where not only oceans divide us, but morals and beliefs that serve as mere aesthetics.’’? Is man more divided than ever?
I think it has always been divided, but it does seem that humans have an adverse reaction to unity. Many claim to be advocates for universal peace, but sadly, certain behaviours demonstrated by people suggest that fear and hatred dictate a never-ending human divisiveness. This is particularly present in the black metal scene, which is a shame really. I'm not only confronting the obvious race topic here but also a sense of elite individualism that tends to render people unreceptive to cooperation with others entirely. I'm not a dogmatic or didactic preacher but my observations lead me to attribute most of this behaviour to fear. Fear of change, fear of others, fear of further loss. I think that if we are about to explode, I would rather go out in the company of my fellow prisoners than in a lonesome chamber sitting on a throne that I need to constantly defend.
Have we lost our “’faith’’ system? Whether it be the spiritual/philosophical or the material/instant gratification has replaced it?
''I don't think it's that simple. I think that it's more the fact that gratification needs to be more instant because it fades a lot quicker and it's a lot harder to come across. Gratification through spiritual or academic means are simply no longer rewarded by economic society and are actually treated as the antithesis of existing day to day. People no longer have the time, nor energy, to invest into the development of the mind and soul. Science has provided us with the avenue of looking after the body, which I at least consider the third component to human flourishing. Maybe it's because I'm both cursed and blessed with an incurable genetic auto-immune illness but I really find that staying physically active helps me balance myself (to the best of my ability) and remain productive.
It is said we have the entire worlds knowledge at our fingertips yet have never been more ignorant.
''I think it would be ignorant, if not arrogant, to assume that we possess any knowledge of the world at all. I can tolerate ignorance, because it can be realised by the virtuous person, but arrogance is equally as toxic as hatred.
If light is born from darkness, then in the circular motion of things we must return to the void? Are we misplaced in our belief that what we do actually matters?
''I believe that it's a bit of a balancing act. In the grand scheme of things, what we do now is pointless as a species since we have failed for so long to gain any stable footing. To quote 2019’s “Dirge” record, we are consigned to oblivion. This being said, we still have a time on Earth that is variable in length and experience. Focusing on individual endeavours that are based on compassionate motives is what drives me to get up every day and try my best. Things like sharing happiness with my wife, my family, and friends, or bringing strength to people through music and kindness. The thing is, when my time is over, it surely will not change the world, and that doesn't bother me, but I would still rather aspire to achieve ‘some good’ than no good at all.
How can life be more terrifying than death itself as explored on ‘’ A Feast For The Rats’’?
''I think it is easier to try to understand death than life. Humans are pre-built for death and have spent forever trying to work out how to live. We know that we 'feel' life and we are unsure what we 'feel' after death. There is a certain peace in that. As our nervous systems can only withstand so much ‘feeling’, the absence of having to 'feel' is often seen as a relief.
Do you think that there is more than this brief flame we call ‘’life”?
I'm quite happy to say that I'm unsure. I guess it's a bridge that I will cross when I get to it.
How does one be ‘’Seen” in the darkness around them?
''Well, it depends how they want to be seen. There are very quick and horrible ways to be seen by a lot of people. This seems very short lived and generally disastrous for the individual or communities. I think when being seen falls behind the pursuit of being virtuous, people are often seen without them realising, and that to me is a beautiful thing.
The future of Deadspace ? you are known for being quite busy.
''We would like to return to some stages now that we know what we are doing. Of course, new material is inevitable also, we're just getting started here but a solid plan is not yet in motion.
Top 6 albums of all time?
For me it would be:
Leviathan - Scar Sighted
The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls with Sand
Gorgoroth - Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam
Deathspell Omega - The Furnaces of Palingenesia
Merrimack - Omegaphilia
Mono and World's End Girlfriend - Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain
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Deadspace bandcamp: https://deadspacecollective.bandcamp.com/