Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Alphabetical Discovery - Week E, Day Four: Entropia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mourningentropia/?fref=ts
Bandcamp: https://entropia.bandcamp.com/album/ufonaut
Formed in Poland in 2007, and with two albums under their belt - 2013's Vesper and 2016's Ufonaut -Entropia combine eclectic sounding psychedelia and progressive-metal rooted in a black-metal sound akin to that of Oranssi Pazuzu. I'm going to kill two birds with one stone here by combining this with a discussion of their new album, Ufonaut, released on the 15th of February. 

The album begins with 'Fractal', a throbbing beast of a song that steams ahead with fury from the get-go. Riff-work is angular and fast-paced as shouted and muffled vocals - Neurosis-esque - grate in the background. As the song develops the vocals transform into a more conventional black-metal howl and swirling siren sounds trip through the mix but the song grows colder, more inherently black-metal, and more traditionally evil sounding as chiming ambiance, relentless drumming and cranking-bass work creeps to the fore. (The bass-work throughout the album is mesmeric - take 'Apogeum', the fourth track, as an example, where it pulsates and throbs with a mesmeric quality through the mix: its full and confrontational sound is a real binding force in this album.) But, in what is expected for this album, nothing is permanent - ideas and sounds morph and change rapidly and without warning. 

'Samsara' opens in a similarly relentless fashion with haunting atmospheric undertones filtering through. The production is crushing - the bass is loud in the mix, every vibration is felt, the drums are equally unforgiving, but the vocals are less pronounced, more of a accompaniment, although this is no issue at all as the instrumentals are constantly interesting. Most important, despite the diverse range of sounds and progressions, is the riffs, and there really is an endless conveyor belt of interesting and varied riffs packed in Ufonaut's 43-minutes.

Entropia - UfonautSpiraling and sprawling, vibrant and visceral, the album does not lose sight of the black-metal sound that gives it its punch; the psychedelic and ambient touches enhance the ethereal sound. 'Ufonaut', the third track, combines a sludgey post-metal with whiplashes of black-metal that clings to the foundation like a snake. Up to this point Ufonaut has been incessant - there's no space to breathe among the swathe of sounds, riff-changes, tempo-changes and all-round aggression. In fact, a lot of the keyboard and sample work reminds me a lot of the extravagant sounds in Leprous's Bilateral, although Entropia have channeled it through a much more violent machine. The entire thing is richly layered and textured, nothing has been included without much deliberation and care. 

The fifth track - 'Mandala' - brings in a more viscous post-metal chug-heavy sound layered beneath echoing and bleeping keyboards. The black-metal tremolo-riffing and dissonance soon rises from the depths with a sharp attack of high-pitched single-note speed; this leads to an echoing sample and futuristic space-like reverberations before slowing, still quite fast by the album's standards, to a medium-paced doom groove. The drum's are unforgiving throughout, constantly steam-rolling ahead without a care in the world - occasionally I feel that they could be more nuanced.

Industrial-ambient noises clang through 'Paradox' as the sound of what seems like metal pipes collides sharply with a more depressive and ponderous sounding post-black metal sound in the vein Panopticon and Wildernessking (of which you can check the review here (shameless plug).) This solemn and reflective sound works its way into the final track 'Veritas'; hazy and melodic, the song throws up an epic angular riff section at 3.25 alongside gradually quickening double-bass drumming before descending, or ascending, back to where the album began - with a throttling black-metal sound merged with quirky atmospheric and ambient elements. 

The album has surprised me for the better. I was expecting a much sparser, long-winded, repetitive and mesmeric approach - something with interesting sounds but lacking an edge and a drive; this album is intense and mesmeric, it manages to combine these two approaches very well. It is an impressive album, with much replay-ability, that does not release a listener from its grasp for one-second.

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