Entropia – Ufonaut (Arachnophobia Records)Thursday, 11th February 2016
First hearing Entropia’s debut album Vespers, it seemed that the band had some potential. They were playing along familiar lines with the whole ‘blackgaze’ thing, but it was a strong effort that showed the band could definitely make their mark if they so chose. Fast-forward to 2016’s Ufonaut, and they’ve not only made good on their potential, but have veered their sound into different and more creative waters.
Whereas Vespers was largely seated at the blackgaze table, Ufonaut is not so easy to classify. Sure, there’s still some blackgaze that pops up from time to time, but it’s no longer the biggest part of the band’s sound. They’ve also taken in some more elements of post-metal, sludge, and progressive metal in the mix (with an occasional foray into death metal-esque brutality). What you end up with is a hypnotic collection of songs that engage in plenty of diversions to keep your attention as you go. Some of the transitions can be a bit jagged, but in this case, it adds to the feeling of not knowing what lies around the corner. Things go from the haunting riffs of “Samsara” to the sludgy title track to frenzied and dissonant “Fractal” without batting an eye.
If you look at album highlight “Veritas,” the main piece is that of an almost ethereal, post-metal journey, with ambient keyboards adding some extra flavor atop some stirring melodies. But then a few moments of visceral aggression seep in to make sure you are on your toes. It’s a credit to the band that they can inject these moments without sounded overtly chaotic or disjointed. It’s also worth noting that the vocals are few and far between, coming in more to add some intensity and flavor than being a normal part of the proceedings, though it doesn’t diminish their value at all.
An unexpected step-up from Vespers, Entropia have laid their claim with Ufonaut. A complex album that is as crazed as it is mesmerizing, it’s best taken in as a whole, where one can simply shut everything off around them and let the music take you on an occasionally claustrophobic and haunting trip.