Review Summary: A near-perfect balancing act between inspiration and innovation.
With their second full-length album, Entropia have delivered on every promise laid down by their debut, and I don't make that statement lightly. 2013's Vesper
was one of my favorites of that year: a criminally under-appreciated masterclass in seamlessly marrying the scope and feeling of recent trends in atmospheric black metal to the drop-tuned fury of sludge metal whose only major weakness was an occasional over-reliance on formulas established by similar acts. It was a gauntlet thrown down; a declaration of talent and as close to a perfect execution of that particular style as I'd ever heard. However, that latter point has been the bane of many a talented band. All too often, a debut that perfects an established style leads to subsequent complacency. If Entropia had chosen to simply iron out the kinks of Vesper
without significantly altering its formula on their sophomore effort, the result would surely have been just as enjoyable as it was uninspired.
Thankfully, with Ufonaut
, Entropia have steered clear of the complacency trap that has plagued so many metal bands in recent years, foregoing the career path of Amon Amarth
in favor of something closer to the artistic leap Altar of Plagues
made with their final album, Teethed Glory and Injury
is a deafening artistic statement; a spiraling maelstrom of discordant black metal and earth-rending sludge that cements Entropia's place as one of the few modern black metal bands that successfully balances inspiration with innovation. Gone is the airy, shoegaze-influenced serenity that permeated much of their debut. In its place is a simultaneously new and familiar sound reminiscent of a beefier, infinitely more organic Blut Aus Nord
. Crushing phrygian riffs replace lush post-rock climaxes, ever-present and always-tasteful keyboards whispering in the background and frantically undulating, Ulcerate
-esque progressions frequently alternating with punishing sludge grooves.
is an intense and unforgiving record that incessantly draws the listener in just as it furiously lashes out at them, doling out punishment and reward in equal quantities with an efficiency matched by few other recent metal efforts. If the universe has the slightest sense of fairness, this will be the push that leads to Entropia receiving the recognition that they deserve. Ufonaut
is absolutely everything that a sophomore album should be: seamless, inspired, innovative, and undeniably memorable in a way that few bands can ever hope to match. Vesper
was as strong of a beginning as anyone could have hoped for, and Ufonaut
is a breathtakingly precise follow-up that will undoubtedly fall high on many a year-end list.