by Ana Krunic
VANCOUVER – Listening to Assimilation’s first album, Apotheosis, you’re hit with death/thrash that instantly makes you think of bands like Morbid Angel, Incantation and their peers — it sounds like it clawed its way through time out of that scene in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s to land in present-day Vancouver. Then you listen a little closer and it’s not quite the same tropes of the era — rather, the imaginings of someone who grew up immersed in that music while doing a hell of a lot of gaming. The name of the EP came about when founding member vocalist and guitarist Jesse James Jardine was playing a game on his PS4 called Apotheon, about a Greek soldier ascending to godhood by conquering the Pantheon.
“Apotheosis” is the Greek term for a mortal becoming a god, and this lyrical theme of inner strength and self-empowerment, as interpreted through a death metal lens, runs through many of the band’s songs and into their upcoming full-length debut, Laws of Power. “The new album is more death metal. It’s more technical and less old-school than our EP,” says Jardine. The record is a continuation of the theme on Apotheosis, a former mortal negotiating existence in the realm of the gods (with lots of references to Dark Souls, of course). Assimilation went through many lineup changes to get here, including members of Ogroem and Terrifier. Jardine started the project with more of a grind focus named Ceaseless Discharge before forming Assimilation.
The current lineup consists of Stephen Shaw of Sinned on drums, Shiloh “Mystique Garlique” Anderson on bass and, after posting an ad on Craigslist, Matt Chanway on guitar (“First thing’s first,” laughs Jardine, “he was willing to grow his hair.”). One glance at the band’s online presence shows you just how much they take the piss out of both Internet culture and occasionally the super-severe metal culture. For example, a sardonic GoFundMe campaign for their drummer Steve called “Save Our Dad” to fund a PS4 to play Battlefield I and “get hype AF.” The campaign is still live, by the way, if you feel this is a cause worthy of your donations. In similar fashion, the details are soon to come for a show in Langley where they’re planning a kegger/bush party show with a few other local bands on March 18 following the release of Laws of Power, as well as a Western Canadian tour in May with Terrifier, Evilosity, Torrefy and Gatekeeper joining them on select dates. I asked Jardine for some last words: “Keep the old-school alive, check out the bands that the bands you like listen to, because it’s probably a hell of a lot better than whatever you’re listening to, and prepare to be assimilated.”
Assimilation’s full-length album Apotheosis is released on March 17