Album: Aether [EP]
If you’re anything like me, you spent at least some of your childhood obsessing over Star Trek–Voyager or Deep Space Nine–or Star Wars–perhaps A New Hope or something more…recent. Almost everyone had some sort of space-based fantasy when they were young, and, I’d be willing to bet that for many of those people (myself included), advancement in age only meant preoccupation and distraction–rather than obliteration–from those fantasies. For those people, Sacramento-based progressive metalcore (or “djent”) band Entities have released Aether, an EP which explores the dark corner’s of metalcore’s final frontier to create a spacey, groovy and massively technical release which will leave heads banging and jaws dropping long after the EP is finished.
Aether commences with “Primordium,” which is just that–primordial. It is the first hint at what the listener is to expect; jarring breakdowns mixed with grooves so buttery it’s hard to even get a grasp on them. It works as a smooth introduction to the band’s sublime, sunny grooves mixed with an intangible, atmospheric heaviness which seems to linger in the background, influencing but not overwhelming the track. However, as soon as “Primordium” finished, Entities kick it into a higher gear and jump-start Aether with “Hadean,” a track which acts upon a stunning combination of excellent instrumentation–something the listener heard in “Primordium”–and stunning vocals with brilliantly written lyrics. As the EP advances, the combination of these two elements into a near-perfect dialectic becomes even clearer.
First and foremost, Entities are a progressive metalcore band, whose focus is on a three-way combination of technicality, atmosphere and heaviness. While one guitar is playing a constant, perfectly-toned groove (a staple for bands in the midst of this “djent” phenomenon), the other rolls overtop of it, pummeling the listener with intermittent shreddy, spacey riffs. All the while, the bass and groove-guitar function as a steamroller, flattening the listener under layer after layer of infectiously catchy and incessant groove. While, at times, Entites do get a little caught up in living up to djent’s expectations (djentspectations?), most of the time, they are creating technically impressive-yet-mindbogglingly-catchy songs better than ninety-nine percent of their peers. Take “Lines of Descent” for example. Featuring a simply jaw-dropping tapping section, flanked on either side with heavy, deep breakdowns, the song is a work of art. Not only are the guitars at the tippy-top of their game, the drums are constantly impressive as well. Speedy, technical footwork and splashy, colorful cymbals add to the already-punchy drumming and the other above-par instrumentation to create a practically impeccable backdrop for the vocals to work their magic on.
Vocally, Entities are a perplexing band. While Aether is focused primarily upon the instrumental atmosphere, the instrumental tracks are far from comprehensive; indeed, both “Primordium” and “Ontogenesis” have the same almost-heavy feel where the true crush of the band’s dynamic seems just out of reach. It’s the vocal element, ranging between a screeching, piercing scream and guttural mid-range bellow. Both of these vocal styles are key to the band’s optimization of their already wonderful instrumentation. The mid-range scream fits beautifully with the chuggy, groovy guitar and anchors the sound firmly to the instrumental “foundation” of the EP. Meanwhile, the high scream contrasts with the beefy bass drum and groove-based rhythms and soars with the shreddy, riffing guitar. Depending on the tone of the vocals, the sound can either be groovy, grimy and heavy or soaring, immense and technical.
Whether you’re looking for a groundbreaking metalcore experience or perfectly-played and partitioned groove, Entities have released the EP for you. Short enough to prevent monotony, but long enough to properly immerse the listener in the band’s perfected groove-laden, technical dynamic, Aether is a release which explores the defines the boundaries of progressive metalcore, and brings the listener along for the ride.
For Fans Of: Erra, Volumes, Structures, Visionaries, Substructure
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism