Artist: Enterprise Earth
Album: 23 – EP
Too often, we find ourselves distracted by the stars—a great stellar landscape of faraway worlds, filling the void as far as our imagination will take us. It surrounds our planet like a veil, shrouding the mystery that lies on the other side—a spectator with both power and knowledge beyond bounds; waiting for the time to lift back the curtain of space and devour our planet whole. This devious cretin of time and space is none other than Spokane’s latest and most sinister addition to the realm of technical deathcore, Enterprise Earth. The bastard child of Born of Osiris’ technicality, Oceano’s heaviness and Aversions Crown’s penchant for the galactic, 23 is an EP that combines scintillating atmosphere with crushing dissonance and intriguing technicality to create something that is simply out of this world.
Like a great majority of technical deathcore bands, Enterprise Earth pride themselves on the ability to weave tedious riffs overtop of pummeling percussion and writhing bass work to create a tapestry of technical instrumentation. They do this expertly, but what is even more incredible is their ability to frame moments of furious, intense technicality in ethereal swatches of atmosphere. The band’s lead single, “Masquerade of Angels,” does this brilliantly—as percussionist Ryan Folden is able to splinter the listener’s bones with blast beats one second, but fill the room with bouncy, splashy cymbal work the next—oscillating from intensity to ambience at a moment’s notice. Guitarists BJ Sampson and Kevin Rogers follow suit. The introductory sequence to “The Truman Show” is a shining example: while Folden hammers away, creating an earthy, booming pattern as a scaffold, Sampson and Rogers take turns chugging and strumming, creating an eerie atmosphere that is equal parts heavy and drifting. This mysterious aether only lasts for so long, as by the time a minute has passed, Folden has sent the track from looming and ominous into technically dense and lacerating—letting Sampson and Rogers take charge, slicing at the listener’s skin with razor sharp riffs and insanely technical leads that are nothing like the fluid, surreal introduction that preceded them. Such swift and smooth transitions are, in one part, due to the rollicking, groovy bass riffs coming from Conner Schneberger. His boisterous, writhing bass tones serve to tie together Folden’s kick-drum heavy drum patterns with even the most ambient and ethereal riffs Sampson can come up with, meaning that even when the track seems to be devolving into a maelstrom of murderous heaviness, a segue into spine-snapping technicality or eerie calm is never too far off.
Where a great majority of technical deathcore bands fall short, however, is the vocal department. Precious few bands with this label have been able to gain notoriety based on their vocalist—at best, for many bands, the vocals are bland and simply there, but at worst, they can be an absolute train wreck, destroying an otherwise enjoyable experience. Here, Enterprise Earth shine—and it should be no surprise, as 23 features the vocal masterwork of Dan Watson. A great majority of Watson’s vocals on 23 are low and gritty—closer to a guttural bellow than anything—giving many tracks an Aegaeon-esque sound that will have the listener’s neck snapping in no time. “Masquerade of Angels” is possibly the greatest of Watson’s vocal performances to date—using his signature gritty growl for what is almost the entire track, until the conclusion sees him brilliantly toggling between his grimiest, dirtiest lows and his ear-splitting shriek fans of Infant Annihilator are bound to know (and love). “Illusory Reality” is another standout track—as Watson’s vocals are as diverse as the band’s instrumentation; where the track drifts and floats, Watson masterfully employs harsh mid-range shouts. However, as the track slams on the brakes or smashes on the gas, Watson excellently employs either one of his extremes with drop-of-a-dime efficiency that will split the listener’s head cleanly in half.
Together, with instrumental superiority, masterful musicianship, dynamic songwriting and visceral—but beautiful—vocals, Enterprise Earth have prodigally developed a unique and intense sound that is sure to infect the heads of heavy music lovers across the world. “The Truman Show,” as well as the introductory track, “23” are well-rounded examples of all that the band is capable of; not focusing too much on either heaviness, atmosphere or technicality, but rather showcasing each element. “Shepherd of Synthesis” is where the instrumentals truly shine—as the track is a whirlwind of relentless technicality and progressive, dynamic songwriting that allows the band to collectively ebb and flow in and out of sporadic, spine-shrinking breakdowns at the drop of a hat. The fact that each song has its own unique feel and drive to it is 23’s greatest gift to the listener, as well as it’s sole weakness. With a run time of barely sixteen minutes, there isn’t much time paid to any of the band’s brilliantly perfected styles—meaning that while 23 is relatively rich in variety, it struggles to fully satisfy the listener’s thirst for the insanely technical or obnoxiously heavy elements the band has to offer. This is forgivable though, because 23 is an EP after all—if anything, the only crime the band is guilty of is how expertly Enterprise Earth manage to excite the listener with hopes of a full-length release.
When it comes to world-crushing heaviness and technicality on an intergalactic scale, look no further than Enterprise Earth. What the band lack in content, they make up for in potential, as 23 is a release that will have fans of heavy music across the planet hooked on their sound and anxious for more to come.
For Fans Of: Aegaeon, Oceano, Born of Osiris, Aversions Crown
By: Connor Welsh