REVIEW: Enterprise Earth – The Chosen [2022]

Artist: Enterprise Earth
Album: The Chosen

There’s a misnomer—especially in heavy music—that progression or maturation has to mean going “soft”—and when it comes to Enterprise Earth, they’ve done an exceptional job of blending technicality, aggression and a sprinkle of blackening throughout their discography—especially Embodiment and Luciferous. With their 2022 record, the band picked a strong title with The Chosen, because it just so happens that Enterprise Earth might be among the chosen few of heavy bands to make marked progression and refinement without sacrificing intensity, aggression or energy. At its core, The Chosen remains a steamrolling juggernaut of a deathcore release—however where previous records saw the band transitioning towards a darker and more blackened sound, The Chosen steers the other way, incorporating more melody and anthemic metallic overtones, bending bone-busting breakdowns with transient moments of ethereality and atmosphere. The result is something heavy but oddly catchy and even uplifting in parts. In short, it sounds something like if Killswitch Engage were to write a deathcore release—but for a more detailed description (that probably will make a little more sense), you’ll have to keep reading.

Spearheaded by legendary vocalist Dan Watson, Enterprise Earth have always been a beast with a multitude of vocal talents. True to his reputation, Watson absolutely delivers throughout The Chosen, with a wide range of harsh screams and stellar singing that do a remarkably strong job in summarizing the multifaceted nature of Enterprise Earth’s sprawling new record. Songs like “Overpass” and “The Atlas” highlight Watson’s relatively newfound strength in his singing voice. While he is no stranger to the occasional sung passage (especially considering his work in Mire Lore), these portions of The Chosen see him expand on his talents, singing throughout entire verses and segments. Other songs—like “Reanimate-Disintegrate” and “Legends Never Die,” alongside “Unleash Hell” see Watson’s low register and piercing screams shine. Throughout The Chosen, Watson is in no short supply of vocal acrobatics, keeping the listener engrossed—and while his singing voice might seem even overbearing in quantity at times (especially on one’s first listen through), it ends up being an element that adds more depth and diversity to the band’s 68-minute long deathcore epic.

Instrumentally, Enterprise Earth maintain the same level of variety and energy put out by Watson. The percussion throughout the entirety of the release is nothing short of stellar, with every song shining in one way or another. Home to blistering speed and flashy fills, “They Have No Honor” is a barn-burner. “Overpass,” on the other hand, is a more mellow build towards a sturdy, metallic anthem with booming, bold percussion and thick, groovy bass. Together, the low firmament founded by the bass and percussion allows for a skyward scaffolding of skin-rending riffs to be cast, best heard throughout “Where Dreams Are Broken” and “Legends Never Die,” among several others. At this point, the concerned reader (it would be me, if I were reading this) might be thinking “hey man, I’ve heard a lot about riffs and fast drums, but is this release still heavy?” Don’t fret—it is. Stuttering, jarring breakdowns decorate The Chosen like sprinkles on ice cream cake, adding a snappy, explosive and sweet burst wherever they hit. “Unleash Hell” is one such example—as are the breakdowns that add zest to the record’s longer cuts, “Overpass” and “The Chosen.” Here, Enterprise Earth exist in the closest thing to their rudimentary form, with bombastic, ruthless chugs that eviscerate the listener, even amid the general turn for the more melodic.

At first I wasn’t sold on The Chosen—its a long release, and between the long songs, the moments of melody and overall more metallic style, it took more motivation than it probably should have to grind through the entire release for my first spin through. However, upon revisiting it, more and more tracks and sections of tracks began to stand out—and moments of immense heaviness and atmosphere both began to become more prominent and memorable. The band’s catchiest and heaviest moments both lurk within this release, and sure, some songs ultimately work better than others, its hard to identify any song as bad—or even weak.

While 68 minutes is probably still a little ambitious to maintain strong focus throughout the release’s entirety, there’s no denying that The Chosen is without a doubt the most memorable Enterprise Earth release to date—what is implied beyond that is truly up to the listener’s own individual impression.

For Fans Of: Oceano, Fit For An Autopsy, Signs of the Swarm, Killswitch Engage
By: Connor Welsh