Jake Dieffenbach: Vocals
Ron Nelson: Drums
Jon Kunz: Guitars
Adam Biggs: Bass / Vocals
Brody Uttley: Guitars
Born from the ruins of their decaying hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania, RIVERS OF NIHIL are on a relentless path of taking their music to the next level. Formed in 2009 the modern progressive death metal quintet’s music is as dark and heavy as the coal and iron their home city was built upon, taking influences from some of death metal’s heaviest, most abrasive hitters: Morbid Angel, Gojira, Spawn of Possession, and Decapitated, to name a few.
In March of 2013 RIVERS OF NIHIL entered the studio with death metal master Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, ex-Morbid Angel) at Mana Recording Studios (Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore, Exhumed) in St. Petersburg, FL to begin the recording of their first full-length album and Metal Blade Records debut, The Conscious Seed of Light. Guitarist Brody Uttley said, “Working with Erik was a true privilege. Coming from the DIY circuit and immediately recording with one of greatest death metal producers of all time pushed us all more than we ever could have expected, both as musicians and as people. We have grown tremendously as a band in all aspects because of our experience with Erik.” Echoing this sentiment bassist/vocalist Adam Biggs stated, “working at Mana was a pretty intense and mind-blowing experience for all of us. We’ve recorded at a few high-level studios in the past but working with Erik is a completely different ball game. The man hears every minute detail of everything being played, which really pushed us to know our music on a level we didn’t realize was possible. Recording The Conscious Seed of Lightwas an intense experience, and I believe that intensity translates directly to the listener.”
While The Conscious Seed of Light is not necessarily a concept album traditionally speaking, RIVERS OF NIHIL began this project with the idea that they would release four separate albums tied together with one common theme: each reflecting a particular season of a year. Adam elaborates; “The Conscious Seed of Lightis intended to be representative of Spring and explores various themes concerning new beginnings, growth, and an attachment to the natural world in a post-human Earth. Unlike some concept records however, we wanted to allow each song to work on its own terms. Rather than have the songs rely on each other to move a specific story structure forward; they work within their own separate narratives, but ultimately serve the album’s broader concept.”
Music for The Conscious Seed of Light came together in a very natural way. “We had plenty of time to write these songs and even when a song was done being written it didn’t mean that it was actually complete. Many times we would go back and make sure that each track had the proper elements to demonstrate the mood or atmosphere that we wanted the listener to experience,” explains Brody. “Instead of locking ourselves into specific ‘styles’ or ‘sounds’ we tried to convey a more universal theme through the music: human emotion. Sadness, happiness, and anger are emotions that we all experience and we felt that many people would be able to relate to our sound if we expressed intense emotions not only through the lyrics, but through the music as well.”
For The Conscious Seed of Light the lyrics were almost always a reaction to the music. After the band completed a song in instrumental form, either Jake or Adam would try to absorb and reflect the emotions of the piece to create a feeling that gel’d with the music’s mood. Bearing in mind that larger themes are at hand, RIVERS OF NIHIL used the concept of the four seasons as a type of filter to channel the feelings that the song bestows. The concept also acted as a type of bridge between the lyrics written by one person or another, and helped keep the intended idea intact. Brody elaborates; “while we wanted to keep a general conceptual theme throughout the album, we didn’t let it impede the ideas we felt that we as people wanted to discuss, and we cover a lot of ground here. Everything from ancient tribal mysticism, to cults, and the impending suicide of the human race are the subject matter dealt with on the album.”
Artwork for the band’s debut full-length was handled by famed cover artist, Dan Seagrave, whose portfolio includes covers for Morbid Angel, Entombed, Suffocation, ad Decrepit Birth. “We were a little lost at the start of the artwork process,” confesses Adam. “We knew that we wanted to create a mood with the artwork that was indicative of the Spring concepts, but without going too far into it, we didn’t want to see a bunch of flowers on the cover or something like that.” RIVERS OF NIHIL ended up sending a brief treatment of the record that included a description of the album with song titles, a few lyrics, etc. to a decent number of artists the band admires. Every one of the artists seemed interested to a degree; however, it was Dan Seagrave who really seemed like he understood and appreciated what it was the band was going for. And as Brody says, “he really tore into it! What we see on the cover is a landscape of a world that doesn’t need mankind, we are relics here, and the sun is the only true master.”
So what should listeners take away from The Conscious Seed of Light? “Honestly we hope that people will take whatever they’d like from the album,” comments the band. “The concept and themes and feelings generated by the music and lyrics are all there to be looked at, but there are also a lot of fun, heavy riffs for people to get into. We want people to hear an aggressive, moody, atmospheric death metal album, but we really hope that people feel the album in their own way.”
The Conscious Seed of Light hits streets in North America on the 15 of October with touring in support of the album starting this August with label-mates Allegaeon and Abiotic along with headliners Wretched and a fall tour starting in late October with Abiotic, Dying Fetus, Exhumed, and Devourment.
Formed in 2009 in Reading, Pennsylvania, RIVERS OF NIHIL took shape after Jake Dieffenbach (vocals), Ron Nelson (drums), and Jon Kunz (guitars) got together to create a band to push the boundaries of death metal. Formed out of the ashes of their previous band, Jake, Ron, and Jon played their first show as a three piece, but soon after the band recruited Adam Biggs (bass/vocals) and Brody Uttley (guitars) who had both recently exited their own band. RIVERS OF NIHIL went on to self-release two EPs—2010′s Hierarchy and 2011′s Temporality Unbound—played several shows, and toured throughout the East Coast and Midwest including stops at Midwest Fuckfest with Dying Fetus, Misery Index and Arsis, and Akron Deathfest with Complete Failure. RIVERS OF NIHIL continued to tour in support of their EPs, sharing the stage with Suffocation, The Faceless, Despised Icon, Revocation, Beneath the Massacre, Dysrhythmia, Decapitated, Six Feet Under, and Decrepit Birth, logging over 50 dates in the US alone. Enter the summer of 2012; RIVERS OF NIHIL and Metal Blade Records began talks, and in September of that year the band was officially signed to the label.