REVIEW: Enterprise Earth – Death: An Anthology [2024]

Artist: Enterprise Earth
Album: Death: An Anthology

There are nigh countless opportunities throughout one’s life to generate “lifetime-defining” moments—but no single moment defines one’s life quite as much as the manner in which they die. In the same way (though hopefully not related to the death of the band), Death: An Anthology is a defining moment for Enterprise Earth—for many reasons. Most obviously, Death: An Anthology serves as the first full-length release with a very new lineup, with the principal change being the addition of Travis Worland as their vocalist. Worland’s addition and the “new era” of Enterprise Earth isn’t truly new, as we’ve been trickle-fed a solid supply of new music from the band in anticipation of their 2024 full length record’s release, but that doesn’t make the record any less pivotal—or its arrival any less exciting. Death: An Anthology is a crushing compendium of heavy music that is founded in deathcore but refuses to stay strictly confined to any single genre or style for more than a few minutes. Mesmerizing yet malicious, Enterprise Earth’s long-awaited Death: An Anthology is a sprawling record that uses every minute of it’s nearly-hour-long runtime to thoroughly steep the listener in technically-savvy, pristinely passionate aggressive music with precious few missteps.
Enterprise Earth cover everything from progressive metal to punishing deathcore on Death: An Anthology, and it is all done with intense care and precision. Brandon Mackey’s percussion is nothing short of immaculate, with stunning footwork highlighting “I, Divine” and the album’s crushing opening track, “Abyss.” Mackey’s footwork is matched only by the ferocity of his fills and flashy cymbal work, adding elegance to even his most brutish and pulverizing segments of percussion. Mackey is met by gargantuan bass from Dakota Johnson and stunning fretwork from Gabe Mangold, both of whom are absolute Goliaths behind the fretboard. Johnson’s bold and bouncy bass shines on songs where outright aggression takes a backseat. This is especially true on “Blood and Teeth,” a song that pairs some of Death: An Anthology’s most immense moments of aggression with a splendid and delicate chorus that is bound to serve as an immortal ear worm, repeating in the listener’s head for weeks. Throughout other portions however, Johnson and Mangold are a force of pure terror. “King of Ruination,” as well as instrumental barn-burner “Accelerated Demise” are two excellent examples of this. “King of Ruination” is home to a series of harsh, metallic riffs that weave perfectly into and out of pulverizing segments of skin-rending brutality. “Accelerated Demise” carries this trend on, with interspersed segments that wouldn’t feel out of place on a 1980’s thrash metal record. Together, this tremendous trio of instrumentalists keep Death: An Anthology fresh despite its hefty run time, with everything from bouncy, groovy segments on “I, Divine” to the melodic touches (some of which almost mirror mid-2000s metalcore) on “Curse of Flesh” and “Malevolent Force.” The band’s instrumental dynamism—while not unexpected from the twists employed and choices taken on The Chosen—feels fresh not only Enterprise Earth, but for heavy music as a whole.
The band’s instrumental variegation is matched perfectly by Worland (who is in turn, supported by the other members of Enterprise Earth as needed). Worland’s voice is technically monstrous, employing everything from harshly spat rapid-fire barks to blistering guttural bellows. A personal favorite, “I, Divine,” sees his lyrics intelligible yet still fearsome—while the most immense moments of “King of Ruination,” for example, see his voice taking on a candor and tone previously unheard of. Not only is Worland impeccable throughout Death: An Anthology, but he is joined by a sprawling variety of some of the heaviest hitters in contemporary heavy music. Spite’s Darius Tehrani adds a blistering and infernal degree of hate to “The Reaper’s Servant,” while Trivium’s Matthew Heafy brings the album’s closing track to a glorious climax (it’s also worth mentioning that Heafy is now two for two when it comes to deathcore features—just saying). The vocal elements—whether from Worland or his posse—on Death: An Anthology are incredible and are just one more reason why the listener ought not scoff at the 59-minute run time, as there is more than enough variety and energy pumping through the syllables screamed and choruses sang to ensure the listener doesn’t even come close to getting bored.
Death: An Anthology is a pivotal point in Enterprise Earth’s career—in multiple senses. It sees the band literally pivot, embracing elements that were only hinted at on The Chosen while still retaining the darkness and bold sense of aggression that defines their sound. On a grander scale, however, Death: An Anthology is an inflection point for the band’s career, serving as yet another record in the post-2020 deathcore soundscape that gives the genre accessibility to the masses, blending the melodies and beauty of metal(core) with pure devastation. In short, Death: An Anthology defies genre limitations, but in the process, makes itself perhaps one of the greatest gateway records for generations of future-extreme music lovers to come.

For Fans Of: Brand of Sacrifice, Lorna Shore, Crown Magnetar
By: Connor Welsh