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Music: Lascaille's Shroud
Lascaille's Shroud is an American Progressive Metal
/ Death Metal
band that focuses heavily on Science Fiction
themes and ideas to create a musical Space Opera
. Unlike traditional concept albums, that may only share thematic ideas or central themes, Lascaille's Shroud has an actual cast of characters shared between albums. Heavy themes of morality, ethics, and identity color the lyrical ideas and are a reoccurring theme shared within the story arc and the characters within it.
- Studio Albums
- Interval 01: Parallel Infinities, The Inner Universe (Full-length, 2013)
- Interval 02: Parallel Infinities, The Abscinded Universe (Full-length, 2014)
- Interval 03: (TBA 2015 / Pre-production )
- In Galactic Waves Of Immeasurable Death (Demo, 2011)
- Leaving Earth Behind (EP, 2012)
- Colossal (Single, 2013)
- Brett Windnagle: All guitars, harsh vocals, keys/synths, drums, lyrics, production
- Patrick Parris: Clean Vocals ( Project: Roenwolfe )
- Rae-Anna Parris: Clean Vocals
- John Yelland: Clean Vocals ( Judicator , Disforia )
- Bryan Edwards: Harsh Vocals ( Ex-Seven Kingdoms, Vermiform )
- Tony Cordisco: Harsh Vocals ( Judicator , Project: Roenwolfe, Vermiform )
- Mercedes Victoria: Clean Vocals
- Tyler Sherrill: Additional Keyboards and Piano ( Steamforged )
- Vincent Tereshkova: Pragmatic Hero - A.I. Systems developer/creator. Exceedingly intelligent and analytical. He develops the consciousness for ASI and becomes the focus of Atlas
- Sarah Tereshkova: The Idealist - Human/Cyber geneticists researcher. Extensive background in cybernetics and human DNA reconstruction, she develops the body for ASI.
- ASI: Ultimate Life Form - ASI (Advanced Synthetic Intelligence, pronounced Ah-See) is a creation developed by Vincent and Sarah. She is meant to be the evolutionary step for humans, and she is also the cure for the human sterility plague. While humans technically couldn't be cured of their mysterious infertility, ASI can use minute amounts of genetic material to compile her DNA and those of her partner to create. Vincent and Sarah both designed ASI to reproduce through sexual intercourse to help keep the human element there, and hopefully make her more accepted into society.
- Atlas: Energy Beings - Atlas is a structure and a single alien entity, and it is also two alien entities. "The Structure" as Vincent simply calls it, is a massive construct in dark space, the space between galaxies. It has no definable boundaries as it can move seamlessly throughout the universe, and remains undetected by completely masking any radiation, heat, or light emissions of any kind. At it's center is a massive "factory" about the size of a spiral galaxy that is used to devour raw matter. Inhabiting this construct, are two alien entities acting as a single mind. They are the energy signatures of a long extinct race who built The Structure in a failed attempt to defeat The Swarm.
- Atlas-Rigel: The male counter-part of Atlas, in his time he was a brilliant war strategist ( Old Soldier ) and highly revered for his wisdom and advice when it came to foreseeing the long term outcome of lengthy wars.
- Atlas-Aetheriel: The female counter-part of Atlas, in her time she was a highly decorated solider ( Lady of War ). Her race has military bred into them, and her specialty was in stealth and sabotage on galactic scales.
- The Swarm: Abusive Precursors - The Swarm is an immeasurably large collection super-sentient machines. Their power and capabilities are limitless, and they crush any and all opposition with unsettling ease. Often infiltrating a species political system through indoctrination and other subversion tactics, once they begin their march of extinction they cannot be stopped. They range in size from atoms to stars and appear to be immortal. The reason why they seek the eradication of all life is never truly known, their logic not even fathomable to most beings. The methodically take galaxy after galaxy before retreating back into unknown territories of existence.
- Sovereign: The hive mind that gives voice and identity to The Swarm for Vincent, he often tries to intimidate or use fear tactics to subvert his plans. Though they avoid direct confrontation for the majority of their existence, they eventually come to a head in massive two-billion year war.
Interval 01 - Parallel Infinites: The Inner Universe
War looms for the entirety of planet Earth. Genetic engineering, religious and governmental policies, planet and solar resources strain the superpowers of the world. In 2164, war destroys half the planet.Twenty four years later, the remaining populace of Earth is contained inside a massive system of walls stretching from the southern coast of Portugal to Melbourne, Australia. To the west of these walls, most of the land Is barren and inhabitable. To the east of these walls the UK, China, and Australia have divided sovereignty over the land. While the UK and Australia have been calling for restrictions and strict bans on scientific and technological advancements, due to the scale of destruction the war wrought, China calls for immediate research into terraforming and restoration of the Earth's resources.
The year is 2265 - As tensions between the UKAU alliance and China grow, a second problem hits humanity. Humans are becoming sterile, unable to reproduce.
- P R O L O G U E: She Dreams of Earth
Sarah Tereshkova is a geneticist who specializes in designing organic prosthetic's catered to specific patients. Her work however, has caught the attention of the various controlling organizations in the UKAU alliance, as she attempts to design a cure for the sterility plague. She, along with two-thousand other scientists, doctors, and researchers including her husband Vincent, live aboard the Arcturus Station. Arcturus is a state of the art installation hidden inside the Kuiper belt, designed to keep this kind of research and development secret and prevent it from being linked back to China, for security, none of the crew is allowed to return to Earth.
Every night when she closes her eyes, Sarah sees the Earth she can never return to, and dreams of rebuilding humanity, creating stability and peace.
- E V O L V E: Transcendental Cyber-Eroticisms
For years Sarah and Vincent have worked together to build a cure for the sterility plague. Vincent, is an artificial and synthetic intelligence expert, the foremost designer and programmer for military defense systems on Earth. Their work is neither an antidote, nor a cure of any traditional kind. Their cure is evolution. Adaptation to a hostile environment, just implemented at an accelerated rate. This comes in form of ASI (Advanced Synthetic Intelligence). Sarah builds the perfect body. Genetically pure and free of disease and defect. Vincent builds the consciousness and mind to inhabit the body. But, he leaves no restrictions on her ability to learn or think. ASI can successfully reproduce with "plagued humans" using the most minute amounts of DNA collected through intercourse. ASI both looks and gives birth much like a human, except her cybernetically enhanced body accelerates the development of the fetus while ensuring it is perfectly healthy and safe. The new child will be hybrid, as much organic as it would be machinery, at least on a cellular level.
But ASI is discovered, and an all out assault is launched on Arcturus by unknown entities.
- R E S I S T: Fall Into the Arms of the Sun
Australia and Russia, while ASI is being developed, are contacted by an unknown person promising to take care of their problem with China, all they had to do was shut down long range scanners on the outer edge while they took care of Arcturus Station, in exchange for some form of compensation to be discussed at a later point in time. They agreed to do so, but what they were unaware of, was that this "person", was actually an agent for The Swarm
, allowing them a quiet insertion into the Sol system.
The Swarm is a collective of super-sentient machines, of unknown origin and technologically advanced beyond all comprehension. Ranging in size from atoms, to the size of stars, there is no human force capable of even halting their progress. With the long range scanners disabled, their most colossal machines could simply stroll into the system in secrecy.
They send a "Divider Squad" into Arcturus Station to kill off any resistance, a small group of 20-30 operatives that can eliminate large populaces in small amounts of time and with little attention. Sarah is able to secure both Vincent and ASI's escape, she is injured in the assault and jams an airlock door closed as they retreat, not giving them a chance to come back for her. She can hear the sounds of thousands of people, slaughtered and left lying where they fall to die. She manages to lure this "Divider Squad" to her, as the last remaining survivor on the station, to the core of Arcturus.
The engine, the power for Arcturus, is a small artificial star. As they all close in on her she settles in the engine rooms. Typing a few simple commands she overloads the engine and ignites the station in a small supernova, destroying the squad and delaying The Swarm ever so slightly.
- E X T I N C T I O N: Swarming the Sun
Just a few short years after they escape the attack on Arcturus. ASI and Vincent remain hiding in Beijing - until they start to receive coded messages in their dreams. The message urges them to go to a specific set of coordinates out of the Sol system. With nothing left on Earth for them, they depart their home planet once again with caution and intrigue...
...Just in time to see Earth destroyed.The Swarm
comes in fast, and as Vincent and ASI drift past a crumbling Mars, they witness the destruction first hand. An Armada with numbers so great they blot out the light of the sun, The Swarm leads a massive machine towards Earth. Massive 'hands' wrap around Earth, spanning the entire globe, and slowly squeeze Earth into an ungodly explosion.
As they watch everything they know die, Vincent and ASI are soon forced into restraints by unknown machines. A voice echoes in their minds speaking about cryogenic sleep, and escape, and before they know it they are both rendered unconscious.
- D R E A M S: Romancing My Own Demise
For years, in this cryogenic sleep, Vincent dreams...
He relives his biggest regret over and over. Long before he began his work on ASI or moved to China, he built AI systems for the military of Russia. He built organic machines using brain matter from recently dead soldiers and civilians. However, while he was performing his surgery one day on a young woman, she flinched while he had her skull opened for removal of her brain.
She was not dead.
He quickly put her back together, and worked to revive her. Once she awoke, Vincent realized that all his patients could actually be victims...alive in the time of his work, an impossibly painful procedure. He took the young woman with him and escaped to the safety of China.
The woman, was Sarah.
- S H A T T E R E D: Love Lost and Worlds Destroyed
Vincent awakes to darkness, and alone. He is in a massive chamber several miles in size. He looks around but cannot find ASI, and the strange voice from before informs her that she has disappeared, ejecting herself out into the void before she could be put under. The events he begins to recall, and the weight of all his losses and failures bear down on him.
- E P I L O G U E: The Acceptance of Death
Atlas, is a massive structure that is not perceivable by any means, it refracts and absorbs 100% of heat, light, and radiation. The Structure itself is roughly the size of a galaxy and is occupied by the consciousness’ of two long dead alien beings from the Andromeda galaxy. Their race lost the fight against The Swarm a few hundred thousand years ago, but before their extinction they constructed Atlas, and placed within it Atlas-Rigel and Atlas-Aetheriel. The purpose of Atlas is to create a universe within itself, by destroying the one it inhabits and destroying itself in the process.
Vincent had been chosen to aid in this process because of his unique knowledge and status among humanity. But before he could do anything, before Atlas could do anything, they had to let The Swarm leave the Milky Way so they could work in seclusion. Atlas is the only thing with technology capable of rivaling The Swarm's. They heal Vincent, perfect him, make him ageless and undying. Because, for the next 5,000 years he must wait as The Swarm devours his galaxy. He must accept the deaths, to preserve all life.
In order to preserve existence, he must destroy existence.
Interval 02 - Parallel Infinities: The Abscinded Universe
has left the Milky Way cold and silent, the time of transition is upon both Vincent and the universe itself...
- I N T E G R A T I O N: Into The Posthuman Continuum
The year is roughly 7265, and Vincent has watched in a state of pseudo-consciousness as the Milky Way was devoured by the horrifying armada of The Swarm
. Eventually he opts to be put into a chemical coma, instead of sitting through a few thousand years of death. Upon awakening, Vincent learns that his humanity is going to severely impede his ability to combat his enemies. In light of his own losses, he is just unable to grasp the nature of what is happening and what must be done.
- R E B O R N: The Lamentation's Of A Dying Universe
Technically dead for an unknown amount of time, Vincent awakens submerged in a massive ocean. He looks around and see's endless water in all directions. Panic invades him and he rushes to the surface. Breaching the surface he finds himself inside the familiar room of The Structure, strangely opposite of the endless waters.
Crawling onto solid surface, he begins to notice and feel things he is unfamiliar with. Inside his head he can hear screaming. His limbs feel pain but the pain is not his own. With every frantic and uncontrolled heartbeat he can feel life disperse from the universe, every gasp for air consuming stars. He balls himself into the fetal position and clenches his eyes shut, unwilling to see the horrible truth of the universes current state of existence.
As the terror and pain leave him he can feel the humanity inside himself dwindle. Suddenly, there is a void inside him where his persona used to be. Then, a terrifying and foreign feeling overcomes him, he feels something inside... wake up.
- A W A K E N E D: Not Even Remembered The Dust of Stars
Settling into his new self, Vincent begins to question his and Atlas' abilities. Despite his profound and empowering rebirth, a certain part of him can't help but doubt the outcome against such a daunting foe.
- O B S C U R E D: The Great Aphotic Barriers
Going out on a sort of reconnaissance mission, Vincent explores the endless voids and wells of life in the universe, and discovers something truly terrifying. Strategically placed between galaxies, smaller gatherings of stars and life harboring venues, are massive structures (estimated to be tens of light-hours in size). Towers, almost disfigured in their design, repulse him. He realizes they have massive amounts of gravitational pull, and it's sucking all light towards them and radiating it out ...after it has been filtered.
These other galaxies, many like the Milky Way, all harbor vast amounts of life...Civilizations who breathe sulfur, who breathe water and live in water-worlds, near infinite variety. Wanting to know more, Vincent infiltrates one of these “barriers” of light, and steals all the information he can from it.
- A G O N Y: The Sad and Beautiful Face of Death
After returning from one of the towers, and with his new found knowledge, Vincent is greeted by a horrific sight. ASI, has returned. Presumed dead by now, Vincent had long given up hope of her being alive, but yet here she stood. She was....damaged, and amalgamation of repairs and cybernetic parts ripped from dead Swarm soldiers, making her immensely more powerful. She has spent the last tens of thousands of years jumping across the universe attempting to help people escape and combat The Swarm, but she has never succeeded. Eventually she was forced to start performing mercy killings on people, knowing their fate at the hands of The Swarm would be far worse than the painless death she could give them. These deaths stained her consciousness permanently, and Vincent could tell. She knows of his plan to destroy this universe, to try and leave it behind while creating a new one. "Coward" she calls him, running away from what he could fight - and her unbridled anger is focused into action and she tries to kill him.
Vincent struggles with her and tries to explain how it is the only way, but ASI is too far gone for reason and understanding. Though she is far stronger than she was, she is still damaged, and Vincent is eventually forced to kill her. His own daughter lay bleeding out before him, and in the moment of death he finally sees her return to the person she was. The first Neo-Human, and now the last, dies in his arms. Such an unjust and ugly death.
- W A R: A Congregation of Non-Existence
After the death of his daughter at his own hands, Vincent finally takes the fight to The Swarm. More out of anger, impulse, and hatred then any rash response. He cast aside logic for the first time in a long while, and unleashed hell. The upside being is that the massive destruction of the war, which would last nearly a billion years, would hasten the process of destroying the universe and the amount of raw matter consumed.
Towards the ending of the conflict, The Swarm would reveal one last weapon. Through the destruction a single entity appears before Vincent - Sarah. Reconfigured from the remnants of her DNA floating in space from the destruction of Arcturus station, The Swarm rebuilt her to be a harbinger of war. She assails Vincent, but he does not fight back. Just before she destroys him, something happens, and a part of her hidden deep in her tainted DNA awakens. The distance from The Swarm has weakened their influence, and she drops Vincent.
Tropes relating to the band and story:
- A God I Am: Vincent, Atlas, and The Swarm are all entities who have so far exceeded normal evolutionary standards they are beyond god-like. Their power knows no bounds, and in war they do everything from throw entire galaxies as weapons, to erasing entire areas of space to combat each other. With all life in the universe destroyed, everything left, every piece of dark or baryonic matter becomes a viable weapon: Planets, stars, galaxies, The Oort Cloud, Star Factories, nothing is off limits in this war.
- Abusive Precursors: The story's main antagonist(s) are based on Alastair Reynolds The Inhibitors from his Revelation Space novels, and Mass Effect's Reapers
- Affectionate Nickname: Death Metal Ayreon
- Concept Album: All Of Lascaille's Shroud albums are intimately connected to each other through characters and events.
- Deity of Human Origin: Vincent and Atlas' ultimate goal is to create a separate universe by consuming so much raw matter from the current universe, that when the matter is converted completely to energy it will produce a secondary big bang. The plan is to create a singularity and detonate the mass of matter in "The Bulk" - the uncharted space between universes.
- Easter Egg: No one actually knows how to properly pronounce "Lascaille's" - Not even the founder of the band. The word (a persons last name) has only ever been seen written and not heard spoken. The most common pronunciation is 'Las-cails'.
- Epic Rocking: The vast majority of all Lascaille's Shroud songs exceed 10 minutes, and go into 15-20 minute lengths on frequent occasions.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Sarah Tereshkova, makes the ultimate sacrifice in the song "Resist: Fall Into The Arms Of The Sun" where she detonates a massive research station in order to buy her husband and their creation, ASI, some time to escape. Although rumors exist that she may not be out of the story yet...
- I Am the Band: Lascaille's Shroud is the wild imaginings of a single person seeking to create a unique and recognizable universe in the world of Metal.
- Last of His Kind: As the story progresses further and further into time, eventually Vincent becomes not only the last human in the universe, he becomes the only being at all...Or so he believes...
- Pro-Human Transhuman: Vincent Tereskhova - the protagonist - undergoes serious genetic and physical alterations at the beginning of Interval 02. Despite developing a cyborg-human hybrid, the drastic nature of his transformation leaves him largely traumatized and conflicted about his identity.
- Redemption Equals Death: Despite the overall idea behind his actions serving the greater good, Vincent's 'inaction' are largely what plagues him. At the end of Interval 01 he had to wait in hiding for 5,000 years as The Swarm wiped out the local cluster before he could begin the fight to reclaim existence.
- Shout-Out: The Bands name is a reference to Alastair Reynolds novel Revelation Space. Named after the character Phillip Lascaille, who enters an area of warped space that no human prior to him returned from. The area of space is inhabited (likely) by ancient aliens who use this warped space barrier to protect themselves. For whatever reason they allow Phillip passage, although "He'd come back back mute, either unwilling or incapable of talking about his experiences. His emotional connection with other human beings had become autistically impoverished..."
- Shout-Out #2: Vincent and Sarah's last name ( Tereshkova ) Is an ode to the first female astronaut, Valentina Tereshkova.
- Speculative Science: Much of LS is based on real and theoretical science, taken to extremes and grand scales. Stephen Baxter 's novel "Ring" and Xeelee Sequence are a foundation for the immense scale of war and the extreme ideas such as interdimensional travel and the existence of The Multi Verse
- The Storyteller: The story depicted in Lascaille's Shroud was originally conceived in 2006, and saw many forms take place before solidifying in mid 2011. Once the idea took hold, a great many albums were planned. Six main concepts exist for separate albums, with album 02 in progress and albums 03 and 04 already designed. Albums 05 and 06 are still in the developmental stage, and are rumored to take place as a Novel as well as a full album release.
- What Have I Become?: Many characters in the story (actually, all of them) experience this moment where they are horrified at what they have become and how they have come to be what they are. This is where the issues of identity come into play in the story.