|Origin||Oakland, California, United States|
|Genres||Funeral doom metal, death-doom|
|Labels||Life Is Abuse, Profound Lore Records|
|Associated acts||Bell Witch, Mournful Congregation, Thergothon, Corrupted|
|Past members|| John Gossard|
Jackie Perez Gratz
Asunder was an American funeral doom metal band from Oakland, California formed in 1998 and disbanded in 2006. Throughout their 8-year cereer, they have released 2 studio albums and two splits. They have also released a bootleg live album with Japanese band Corrupted in 2008.
In the early '90s, crust legends Dystopia and a new stenchcore band, Skaven, released a split LP on Life Is Abuse Records and followed that with a US tour. With the completion of this tour, 2/3rds of Dystopia moved to Oakland, California, and shared a large house (the infamous "Compound") with members of Skaven. With Dystopia on a short hiatus, and Skaven broken up due to internal problems, guitarist Geoff Evans formed a new band called Lachrymose with the drummer and one of the bass players of Skaven. While rehearsing in their house one day, the drummer of Dystopia, Dino Sommese, who shared the house, proposed that he take up the vocal duties for this project.
Lachrymose began rehearsing regularly and began to play out at local shows. One of these shows, a warehouse show in San Francisco, was to be San Francisco-based black metal band Weakling's first show. Due to police interference, the band never got to perform. Lachrymose did not last long, and slowly disintegrated.
Wanting to continue playing music, Geoff and Dino decided to start jamming with long-time friend Seth Baker on guitar and Dino taking up the drum and vocal duties. Sharing an interest in both early Swedish death metal and doom metal, the trio began writing death/doom songs and the early sounds of Asunder began.
Lacking a bass player, the band asked an acquaintance from the scene, Jim Mack, of Black Goat fame, to come down and jam. After a couple hours of jamming, Jim decided that Asunder didn't need a bass player, and left. Confused and amused, Asunder continued searching for a bass player. Another acquaintance, Britt Hallett, decided he would take on the task. When this lineup solidified, their death-doom intentions did, as well.
Not long after this, an opportunity arose to go into the studio and record a demo. Evans had received some free studio time in exchange for internship duties, so Asunder were pleased to have the opportunity to record in a top-notch studio. Entirely self produced, the demo was finished, and the band began playing out at local metal and punk venues. Having been involved with the recording of the demo, Mauz from Life Is Abuse Records decided he would like to release it as a split EP with old tour buddies, Like Flies on Flesh.
Meanwhile, Asunder had been working on some new material, expanding on their sound. Once again, the opportunity to record presented itself and the band returned to the studio to record a new song - "Of Wind and Wings". Unsatisfied with the outcome of this session, they never released this song.
Fueled by this somewhat disappointing experience, the band wanted to add a new element to it. With the new material leaning more towards long, slow, sorrowful songs, the introduction of the cello was a logical next step. Long time friend, Alex Bale-Glickman joined, incorporating this new sound. After having performed live a few times with the cello, it became clear that, due to limitations with live sound reinforcement, the cello could not be used in live shows.
During this time, drummer Dino Sommese and guitarist Seth Baker formed a new death metal outfit, Insidious. Due to increasing time commitment issues, it became clear that Seth Baker could no longer devote the time necessary to remain in Asunder. His replacement was found in another acquaintance from the Bay Area scene, John Gossard. The band knew John from his bands, black metal titan Weakling, and depressive gloom metal oddity The Gault.
With the inclusion of Gossard, Asunder began playing out and preparing to enter the studio again. In the summer of 2003, Asunder entered Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California with famed engine-ear and producer, Billy Anderson. On a very small budget, this marathon session resulted in their debut full length album A Clarion Call.
After having completed mixing the album, the band were invited to play the San Francisco show for the Doomination of North America tour and the Stoner Hands of Doom festival in Portland, Oregon. This was going to be the first out of town show for them, and an excellent opportunity to play for a primarily doom-oriented audience. Having no means of transport to Oregon, Asunder rented a van from a local punk venue, Burnt Ramen Studios, to make the doomed journey.
Not 30 minutes outside the Bay Area, this van began to catch on fire inside. Apparently, someone had bolted the exhaust pipe to a plywood floorboard of the van. This continued to happen every hour or so, and the only solution that they could come up with was to line the floor of the van with ice. Several bags of ice later, they triumphantly arrived, smoldering van and all, in Portland, Oregon.
Upon return to the bay area, Asunder began searching for a label to release their new recording. After reviewing a couple offers, they accepted one from Nuclear War Now! Productions. Having been familiar with the label's high quality releases, the band saw this as a great opportunity to design an elaborate package for the vinyl-only release, also involving some talented and skilled friends and family with the visual aspects of this release. As for the CD version of the release, once again they entered into a deal with long time crony, Mauz of Life Is Abuse Records. This was to be a split release between Life Is Abuse and the band's own fledgling label, Denatured Spirit.
Having come to the end of the work for this album, and having come to a mutual disinterest in working together any longer, bassist Britt Hallett and Asunder parted ways. Optimistic now as to the future of the band, they invited the bass player from Dino and Insidious, Salvador, to join as the new bass player.
Considering Asunder relatively small number of live performances, it has been fortunate to have shared the stage with many great bands, such as Grief, Mourning Beloveth, The Prophecy, Orodruin, High on Fire, local greats like Ludicra, Hammers of Misfortune, Amber Asylum, Subarachnoid Space, Artificium Sanguis and many others. Recent shows have been great, with bands like Tarantula Hawk, Night After Night, and Om. Future plans for the band include performances at the Three Days of Darkness festival, and a possible split release with arizona doom merchants Graves at Sea. Over 5 years and counting, Asunder continues its patient but insistent stride into a future that was doomed from the beginning. The band's second and final album Works Will Come Undone was released on October 28, 2006 via Profound Lore Records after which the band broke-up.
The band contributed the track "Who Rides the Astral Wings" to the 2CD set Rising of Yog-Sothoth - Tribute to Thergothon released in 2010 on Solitude Productions. It was the band's last recording.
- John Gossard – guitar, vocals
- Geoff Evans – guitar
- Salvador Raya – bass
- Dino Sommese – drums, vocals
- Seth Baker – guitar, vocals
- Two Gallants – cello
- Jackie Perez Gratz – cello
- Alex Bale-Glickman – cello
- Britt Hallett – bass, vocals
- Jim Mack – bass
Studio albums Edit
- Asunder / Like Flies on Flesh (2000)
- Graves at Sea / Asunder (2005)