Sublation – The Path to Bedlam
Having never heard the term before, I decided to look up what “sublation” means, and was promptly ambushed by Hegelian philosophy. Curse you, intellectual death metal band Sublation from Philadelphia! I was not ready for this!
Turns out that “sublation” means Aufhebung in German, and Hegel was endlessly tickled by the fact that the verb aufheben can have no less than three meanings: to cancel or abolish something, to store or preserve something, and to pick something up (literally elevating it). He held that all three meanings can apply more or less simultaneously and that this, in a nutshell, is how history progresses. Heady stuff that I’m not sure I fully understood, so naturally, I’m gonna hamfistedly apply it to today’s subject, Sublation’s excellent debut album The Path to Bedlam.
Alas, should you not be interested in such lofty pursuits, just know that Sublation list Neuraxis and Revocation among their influences, and proceed to enjoy the album right here.
Alright, I think the way Sublation does sublation works roughly as follows:
Phase 1: Technical death metal is cancelled! Too inaccessible, says Sublation. Too much wankery. Not fun!
Phase 2: In examining tech death, Sublation have decided to preserve its non-egregious qualities: intensity, impressive and tight musicianship, and songwriting that keeps you hooked.
Phase 3: Sublation use these qualities to elevate their style of death metal, forging it into the extremely engaging 35 minutes that you should currently be listening to.
In short: tech death is dead, long live tech death!
Incidentally, the philososphical influence doesn’t stop with Hegel, as the concept of Aufhebung was hugely influential on both Engels and Marx (the latter of which is quoted directly in “Black Monday”). Much like the commie dream team, Sublation is a two-man project, although they were able to recruit fellow musicians to fill guest spots on several tracks. These include the mid-tempo stomper “Let the Fire Burn” and, right afterwards, the very melodically inclined “Hypnotic Regression,” two of many highlights throughout the album. Both qualities are later combined in the excellent closer, so I guess you could say that track elevates the previous… alright, enough of this. Let’s hear instead what the band says about these fruitful collaborations.
“From our humble beginnings recording demos in an apartment in North Philly to recording full-length albums with Grammy-nominated producers Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland, we’ve learned about what extreme music can be and what kind of music we want to produce. The Path to Bedlam is in many ways the culmination of over a decade of experience as collaborators producing extreme metal and is the beginning of a new chapter for us as creators. This is our debut under our new moniker and our first effort as producers, engineers, and artists, and we are incredibly proud of the results. The album is aggressive, it’s coarse, and it’s the most accurate and human exemplification of us and our abilities to date.”
The Path to Bedlam dropped today and is available over here on the Bandenkampen (as Hegel called it).