Called to Rise

OBLIVION – Called to Rise
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Unique Leader Records #24620

Focused on crafting music to transcend time and genres, OBLIVION features a compelling cast of characters with All Shall Perish founding bassist Ben Orum, vocalist Dr. Nick Vasallo, a professor of music and internationally acclaimed modernist composer, guitarists Ted O’Neill and Victor Dods who’s currently completing his PhD in mathematics, and drum prodigy Luis Martinez, trained by renowned jazz funk musician Ndugu Chancler.

Initially self-released earlier this year to the riotous endorsement of fans and critics alike, OBLIVION‘s Called to Rise was produced by Zack Ohren of Castle Ultimate Studios (Suffocation, Immolation, Decrepit Birth, Deeds of Flesh) and sold out in just a few weeks. Crowned “the must-own album of 2013,“ by Metal Injection, “the finest debut ever written,“ by Metal Archives and a “progressive metal masterpiece,” by Sputnik Music, who furthers, “the band’s eleven song display of nothing more than pure aggression with more musical depth than many bands can find in their entire discography. Nick Vasallo is among the most varied vocalists in extreme metal and really adds a lot to this release, roaring his lyrics about fantasy kingdoms and lands buried beneath the Earth with so much conviction.“ Called to Rise is among death metal’s best kept secrets of the year.


Monuments Emerge
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Innova Recordings #821 


“In his artistic process he attempts to infuse elements of metal in chamber music. And it works. Monuments Emerge is full of highlights, strokes of genius even, that blend the density of heavy metal with the harmonics of gamelan, the polyrhythms of taiko, and atonality.”
– Monsieur Délire

 “The hybrid pieces that result from such musical miscegenation articulate a brutalist asceticism that is very much Vasallo’s own, one rooted in the here and now, wholly engaging with modernity while cognizant of the past and the ‘other’. Caught between past and present, East and West, it is music of urgent, often raw-edged immediacy eager to communicate, to connect, and to comment….the Bay Area-born composer offers a concentrated précis of music composed between 2007 and 2012 and presents Vasallo as a composer for whom compromise is clearly not an option. Instead, this is music to be taken at face value, the obvious contrariness between elements that fuse fragility and force with poetic persistence bordering occasionally on the confrontational….Vasallo is clearly a composer on a mission and one possessed of a distinctive (albeit not always immediately digestible) voice.”
– The Classical Review (link #2)


let the machines do it for us
Release Date: May 2, 2011

“…inventive and capture[s] something super-musical, beyond the human performer. I think Nick is on to something new and exciting in terms of music possibilities. Heading in this direction look for great things to come.”
– Interchanging Idioms

Days of Night

ANTAGONY – Days of Night
Release Date: December 21, 2008
Deepsend Records

“Oakland’s Antagony walked a thin plank. What could have been their biggest weakness – genre diversity – ultimately became the biggest attraction on their latest album Deepsend Records debut Days of Night. What could have sounded like an all over the place mess emerged as a cohesive picture, drawing on equal parts technical death metal, melodic Gothenburg and hardcore spirit.

What unites this concoction throughout is the hefty package of emotion beginning with The Truth Will Be Known and spilling over the top by the time Days of Night is over. This is no cheap, whiny, makeup touched mallcore sentiment, but instead, as Undying Sun shows, a melodic wave of sound locked into a passionate plea deserving to be heard.”


The Burning
Release Date: November 20, 2007
Ars Nova Classics CD-0105

“This CD is a varied grab-bag of works for different ensembles by a young composer who, before undertaking any formal musical training, performed and wrote material for a hardcore thrash metal rock band. The three electro-acoustic pieces (Vertigo series) are the only ones here that suggest the sort of thing one might hear in a rock club, apart from a general tendency toward ‘dark’ subject matter in the texts performed or alluded to in some works; the other pieces are highly accomplished pastiches of various styles from Baroque and classical keyboard music to minimalism to polyphonic chant, and so on. In general the pieces are short, tonal and uncomplicated; Vasallo has a gift for melody and striking sonic textures, though it is perhaps a little hard to point to anything entirely original, apart from the Vertigo pieces. The CD is produced and presented in a ‘pop’ style, including an unlisted ‘bonus track’, an agreeable Scarlatti-ish pastiche on synthesizer. Definitely intriguing; one wonders what Vasallo might do in an extended work for large ensemble – maybe we’ll find out in due course.”
– Records International.com

“‘The Burning” encompasses a collage of VASALLO’s works between 2004 and 2007. Few traces of the former Thrasher appear here, although a few distorted flash fires make for an interesting ride. The focal point of this release rests in classical composition and Baroque vocal counterpoint, each meriting brief discussion albeit worthy of criticism. One interesting side note for this compilation resides in the dark nature of the song titles that VASALLO carried with him from his Metal youth. Imagine sitting through an orchestral outing and reading titles such as “Necromantic Dances,” “Lamentation,” and “Emergence Of The Kraken” from the program jacket. Who knows, the future may provide such an opportunity, and if so why not partake? The classical elements of these compositions would thrive in a theater while the melodic elements would capture fans of many genres. “Falling Into You” offers VASALLO’s most mature effort. The theory of this piano piece proves worthy of further marketing whether through soundtrack or mass performance. With any luck this composition will take the artist to a new level of popularity.”
– The Observer

Composer, Professor, Guitarist, Martial Artist