The members of Bereft describe their new band as “fun,” despite the fact that the title of their debut album, Leichenhaus, comes from the German word for “mortuary” and there's a song called “Withered Efflorescence” on it.
The outfit was dreamed up by Sacha Dunable, who sings and plays guitar for Intronaut, a stoner post-metal outfit that recently broke big opening for Tool's arena tour. Next to join was Charles Elliott, who handles guitar and vocals for tech-death metal outfit Abysmal Dawn, currently opening for Cannibal Corpse. Bereft take their cues from U.K. doom-metal bands such as Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride.
“[Bereft] is like a little vacation from Intronaut, which is a more serious band,” Dunable explains over a high-carb meal at Kalbi Burger. “Not that we don't have fun, but we are always rehearsing or writing. But with Bereft we can be supercasual about it — as supercasual as you can be with doom metal, at least.”
The album's primary concept is that of a waiting mortuary — i.e., the spot where your body is taken to confirm you're actually dead — which often was found in 19th-century Europe. “Wait for putrefaction,” Elliott sings on “The Coldest Orchestra.” “It's the only sure sign.”
Another topic of lyrical inspiration was the Tibetan practice of sky burial, a process of ritual dissection that allows predatory animals to feed on corpses. Fun indeed!
Dunable started writing riffs for the album about four years ago, while the lyrics were filled in by Elliott and Derek Rydquist, ex-vocalist for the Faceless, who plays bass on the album. Rydquist says it wasn't hard for him to get into the headspace necessary for the album, considering he'd just split unceremoniously from his previous band.
“I started exploring rituals surrounding death,” he says. “There's a lot of stuff about transcending death and moving on to the next life.”
Another Bereft song concerns exposed corpses wasting away in the elements. “Orchards chime in the wake of uncertainty,” Elliott sings on “Withered Efflorescence.” “Webs entangling the limbs of the recent dead.”
If this all sounds like a grand time, unfortunately Bereft have no plans to tour with the album, given how busy the members are with their main bands.
“My goal with Bereft is I don't want to make any money ever,” Rydquist says. “I tried doing that with my other band, and that was no good. I just want to keep it fun.”
Even if it's an unusual type of fun.
Bereft's debut album, Leichenhaus, comes out tomorrow.