Entropy "Ashen Existence" CDPosted on Friday, August 26th, 2011 @ 12:33am » permalink
Here's another mind-shatteringly awesome discovery I made on YouTube recently. A band so fuckin' incredible that I'm absolutely certain they would've gone on every single mixtape I ever made as a kid had I discovered them when they were actually active. Entropy formed in Ontario, Canada in 1990, and after a demo the following year they only released two albums: "Ashen Existence" in 1992, and "Transcendence" in 1995 (both on Inazone Records). While they stripped down a touch for their sophomore effort, 1992's "Ashen Existence" (which only contains seven tracks but still runs over 50 minutes) is an impeccable fusion of technical thrash and death metal so impressive that it's inconceivable to me that not a single soul has ever so much as mentioned this band/album to me before. How is that even possible!?
If you took a few other albums from that general era – let's say Dark Angel's "Time Does Not Heal", Exhorder's "Slaughter in the Vatican", and maybe Gorguts' "Considered Dead" – and threw them in a blender, I really do think the result would be something pretty damn close to "Ashen Existence". The vocals range from thrashy snarls and wailing high-end shrieks (somewhat reminiscent of Ron Rinehart from Dark Angel) to singing, growls, the works – while the vocal patterns range from a thrash-styled delivery to super high-speed crossover tongue twisters, to groove-based runs perhaps suggestive of where the band would head in the years that followed. Musically it's a mixed bag of top-notch thrash/death with more of an ultra thick, early-90's Morrisound type of recording, which definitely aids in the death metal vibe surfacing throughout. Expect everything from lush dual guitar harmonies and absolutely gorgeous acoustic passages to flashy solos and, of course, tons and tons of meaty riffs. Plus, the songwriting actually flows and has some really memorable (if not catchy) elements as well – all the more unexpected when you're dealing with compositions that run six, seven, nine minutes or more. ("Psionic Dissection" is the one true oddball herein: More of a straightforward death metal piece complete with over the top growls, Carcass-esque leads, etc. It also has entirely different production values than the rest of the album, which makes it stand apart all the more as somewhat unusual. I've never heard the band's demo, but part of me wonders if perhaps this track was leftover from the demo sessions?) Overall, the different influences that are being combined feel pretty logical and fairly related to one another, but the end result still comes across as intriguingly diverse and full of unexpected twists and turns. They were definitely onto something, and I'd have to argue they were ahead of their time on some level. It's a damn shame this material has been drifting in obscurity for almost two decades now…
And, sadly, this is another album so rare that you won't even find it listed on Amazon, etc. However, the band's guitarist recently got in touch with me, and he has copies of both Entropy CD's for sale at very reasonable prices! You can shoot him an email at [email protected] to inquire about getting your hands on these gems.
Even more insane is that when trying to dig up some information for this post, I found a few cryptic mentions that Entropy has reformed and is supposed to be releasing a new album this year!? Check out their Facebook group for all the latest news on that front!