Decibel Premiere: Seputus — “Soft Palates Rasp”

It’s a common story in the extreme metal world: band forms, gains traction. Another band forms with some of the same folks, gains more. The first project, while noble, gets put on the back burner. Such was the case with Seputus, the bonkers tech-death collaboration featuring members of the New York experimental band Pyrrhon (including vocalist Doug Moore and bassist Erik Malave)

Seputus formed more than a decade ago. The band recorded a few tracks and then faded into obscurity while Pyrrhon has toured widely and released several albums and EPs. Seputus was recently revived by drummer and composer Steve Schwegler. Schwegler says he was inspired in part by his military service.

“Soft Palates Rasp” (from the debut Man Does Not Give, available on October 21 on CD and vinyl via Canada’s PRC music), contains some similar mindfuckery as Pyrrhon. But it is more singularly focused, although musically lithe. Parts of the album remind us of such listening highlights as Cryptopsy’s None So Vile and Whisper Supremacy, if they added tinges of Ministry’s The Land Of Rape And Honey. Stream the track and read Schwegler’s thoughts on it below.

The inspiration for this song’s music came from reading a lot about drone warfare, barotrauma and some ordnance literature I read during my military service. Most of my instrumental ideas are inspired by news articles, books, movies, visual imagery, and personal experiences. I wanted to evoke the scattershot violence and collateral damage that occurs at street level when an explosion occurs amongst a populace.

I composed all of the material onMan Does Not Give in the order in which it appears. While writing it, I constantly asked myself “What should come next?” To carry on the flow of the preceding song, I began this one by writing a descending, repeating drum fill that falls into a double bass groove. It was difficult to find a riffing pattern that would illustrate a chaotic atmosphere, and I ended up splicing together several riffs I had written into a series of long phrases. During the first blastbeat segment, I wrote a long riff over a beat that used to underlie four different riffs. After this theme was in place, I decided to write a breakdown that followed the same ‘four riff’ framework. Anyone who listens to the song carefully can hear this ‘two riff’ and ‘four riff’ theme throughout the song structure.

SOFT PALATES RASP (Lyrics by Doug Moore):

What we do is secret now
Scribbling our weapons down
On scraps of time with eager hands
Stealing moments where we can

The deadly message, still unborn
Sealed up in hermetic casks
Aged for years as it takes form
Within the folds of our minds clasped

Until our soft palates rasp

And when the words at last spill out
They are not for us alone
They will fill up all the gaping throats
And boom from every flayed tongue

Oh, how weak is the meat
That gives voice even as it tries not to speak