Total by EntropiaRelease date: March 17, 2023
Label: Agonia Records
Multifaceted Polish quintet, Entropia, have been causing a buzz in the metal world with their intricate brand of multi-genre music. Entropia are a nuanced force, an entity with many psychedelic and proggy tentacles branching off their sludgy, post-metal body. Each album feels like a different iteration of the band and is a richly textured piece of music with its own identity poured through a kaleidoscopic lens of inspiration, yet each is unmistakably Entropia and drenched in heaviness. Total is the culmination of sixteen years of the band and their fourth album since 2013s breakthrough Vesper.
The frenetically charged ‘Retox’ begins the album and is probably the most straightforward metal of the five new tracks. Featuring angular riffage, chunky, chugging guitars and stop/start bursts of drumming as well as impassioned vocals from frontman Michał Dziedzic that seem ripped from his soul. Structure moves through pensive moments with despairing strings moaning gently in the background throughout most of the song to supercharged bursts of chaotic energy, making this intro a full-on whirlwind of creativity. ‘Mania’ is a track pulsing with purpose and rythmn, carrying its weighted repetition through a midsection of jagged high notes. Its final 3rd showcases a few more details by ushering a carnival of synths over weeping guitars before breaking out into atmospheric riffs that sway to and fro over darker drum hits.
‘Orbit’ begins slowly under a smokey cloud of proggy jazz, which clears away into airy shoegazing ambience. Starry synths bring a galaxy of nuance shimmering under the crushing weight of battle-ready drum beats leading to a jarring finale of cacophonous, experimental prog bereft of vocals but crowded with chaotic, free-form dissonance, irregular rhythms and beautifully performed guitar work. Title track and longest of the five, ‘Total’, begins with undulating riffs that creep alongside plodding bass. Midway and the pace ramps up with the guitars especially becoming a touch more energetic, with intermittent flashes of frenzy as a veil of ethereal sound shimmers behind its weight. The track finishes by shrouding you with a galactic starburst as the synchronised drum and guitar strikes clamber over you to a crescendo. ‘Final’ finishes the album under pleasant melodic waves and funereal synths that recall older times.
Total is without a doubt an incredible album but may take a few spins to fully consume. It’s steeped in post-metal with all its vibrant hallmarks such as its ethereal vibe and use of ambience. It’s not a particularly blackened album, there’s no fits of blastbeating as featured on previous albums for example, but more of a measured outburst with most of its ‘rage’ coming from its crushing and repetitive weight, perhaps creating a certain unease for the listener.
The vocals are used very sparingly and most of the runtime is bereft of any voice, which on first listen is challenging, but ultimately allows the music to speak freely in pulsing rhythms or sparkling atmospherics. The album, breathes, grows and undulates and feels like an accentuation of their experimental side.
Tracks tend to stick to an idea and runs with it until the end, even if it’s drawn-out, with a few subtle change-ups throughout. It’s certainly an album that requires your deepest attention as it doesn’t hit as hard as previous albums Vesper, Ufonaut and Vacuum, which stuck more to overall blackened post-metal, but once you fully absorb and appreciate its subtleties that attention is mesmeric and enthralling. Total will be Entropia’s most dividing album, yet again one that is so unmistakably theirs that you’ll forgive its extreme differences and allow its stunning musical beauty and breadth to creep into your soul very quickly.