Artist: Enterprise Earth
Album: Patient Ø
Everything has a beginning. All rebellions have an instigator, every piece of genetic code has a primer and every person developed from a scrap of embryonic tissue. For every alpha, there is an omega—and most relevant to Spokane-based skullcrushers Enterprise Earth, every sickness begins at Patient Ø. Bursting into the heavy music underground with their critically acclaimed debut, 23, this sinister sextet is back with a style of infectious, intense technical deathcore that spreads itself among the ears of the heavy music community like a pathogen more virulent than any known to man. Built upon a foundation of brazen, brutal deathcore and built up with enormous arcs of technicality, atmosphere and anger, Patient Ø appeals to more than just fans of technically-infused aggression—it infects the ears of those who were previously immune, rendering them diseased with the world-ending plague that is Enterprise Earth.
Technical deathcore is a genre that—more so than many other styles of heavy music—lends itself to pitfalls and potential catastrophe more often than it does to overwhelming success. Often times, songs are either overrun with rampant chaos and scattered, dissonant riffs overtop machine-gun drumming that does little more than rattle the listener’s jaw with insane blast beats.
Enterprise Earth challenged that stereotype with 23, and they obliterate it with Patient Ø.
Here, chief songwriter and guitarist BJ Sampson have crafted nothing but pure magnificence, expertly blending chaos with carefully structured order in a manner that splits the listener from ear to ear yet simultaneously leaving them begging for more. Built upon the frenzied—but diverse—work of percussionist Michael Davidson, every song on Patient Ø is a uniquely lacerating experience. From the crashing, jarring introduction to “Shallow Breath,” throughout the whirlwind “SusCibum” and even during the subtle introduction to the album’s title track, Davidson’s drumming is dynamic, making appropriate use of blast beats and bombastic stretches of lightning-like kick drum, leaving plenty of room for catchy, bouncy grooves and beautiful, flashy fills. Davidsons’s more diverse examples of percussive excellence—like those on “Porcelain Whore” and “Kiss of the Recluse”—allow him to work excellently with bassist Brian Moore to provide a thick, beefy low end that makes each track feel full and meaty without being too dense or distracting. Rarely—but notably—Moore’s playing stands out amid the surrounding onslaught; “Amid Vultures” and “Transorbital Awakening” being two excellent examples.
Where Enterprise Earth’s low end is raunchy and ruthless, the band earns its rank in the halls of heavy music fame by the work of the riffs, grooves, solos and spine-shrinking chugs of guitarists BJ Sampson, Cliff Wagle and Will Garcia. Lead by the songwriting genius of Sampson, Wagle and Garcia drown the listener beneath layer after layer of lurid, languishing breakdowns, scathing riffs and grooves bouncier than a wrecking ball covered in rubber. Some tracks highlight directed, syncopated brutality above technical prowess—“Kiss of the Recluse” and “Amid Vultures” among others—while “Transorbital Awakening” (aided by former Saturnian Joel Omans) and “Theophany” are works of technical perfection, combining intensity and atmosphere in ways that defy words. Again, the introduction to “Patient Ø” stands out—with clear, clean tones that rapidly decay into dissonant, devastating grooves.
To ignore Enterprise Earth’s vocal brilliance would be nothing short of pure folly. 23 saw the legendary Dan Watson step up to the plate for the first time since his work in Infant Annihilator—and while his performance was outstanding, it couldn’t quite break his reputation as “Dan Watson of Infant Annihilator.” Again, Patient Ø succeeds in pushing the envelope, obliterating that notion. On Patient Ø, Watson outdoes any of his previous appearances, dominating with a range ever so slightly improved from Enterprise Earth’s debut—but with infinitely more energy and emotion behind each syllable. Rather than impressive—but borderline two-dimensional—roars, growls, screeches and yells, Watson lets loose with full, visceral vocals that feel as if they might just break out of the listener’s speaker and strangle them. “Porcelain Whore” sees Watson’s highs at an all-time…well, high—just as his intense lows at the end of “Shallow Breath” and “Hollow Face” are nothing short of absurd. Even if the listener should tire of Watson’s vocals (unlikely), he is accompanied by some of the genre’s other giants, giving no shortage of things for the listener to fall in love with. In short, Watson has taken his already undeniably incredible range and added endurance, energy and emotion, making him one of—if not the—genre’s premier vocalist.
Enterprise Earth have taken the modest movement they started on 23 and turned it into a full-blown, bone-busting revolution. Patient Ø is the culmination of technical brilliance, songwriting supremacy, vocal perfection and dynamism that demands the utmost praise. Enterprise Earth go heavier than they ever have before (“Amorphous” for example), more technical than they have before (“Transorbital Awakening,” anybody?), more atmospheric (looking at you, “Patient Ø”) and finally, just plain scarier than they ever have before (“Kiss of the Recluse” being the culprit). Enterprise Earth are a band that have taken the world of extreme music by storm with their prodigal ability to push the envelope—and in the process, they have likely created one of the greatest testaments to technical deathcore there is—period. With the release of Patient Ø, Enterprise Earth have infected the metal-loving masses, giving them no cure and no hope for salvation.
Rating: 10/10 — Album of the Year Contender
For Fans Of: Abiotic, Nexilva, Existence Has Failed, Oceano
By: Connor Welsh