In the last days of the last year I came across a new song named “Mandala” from a new album by Poland’s Entropia. As I wrote at the time, it’s heavy, high-energy music that defies easy genre classification, with pneumatic grooves, twisted riffs, otherworldly guitar arpeggios, and quirky electronica capable of pushing you past your comparatively drab surroundings and into this band’s inventive vision. And as you’re about to find out, the same could be said of the entire mind-bending album.
The name of the record is Ufonaut. It follows the band’s 2013 debut album Vesper, and it will be released by Arachnophobia Records on February 15. It’s a cocktail of adrenaline, paving tar, and mescaline, consumed in an asylum — and it’s a completely electrifying concoction from the first gulp to the last.
Wearing the trappings of black metal, progressive metal, and post-rock, Entropia deliver one high-intensity thrill ride after another. Frenzied, often dissonant guitar duels and waves of near-cacophonous tremolo riffing whirl around huge, gravel-throated bass notes and spine-shaking percussion — spawning images of swarming, dog-sized hornets soaring, diving, and colliding in a whir of mad violence while urban streets explode from below in upheavals of concrete and ruptured water mains.
The guitarists execute blazing arpeggios, seeming to pursue their own twisted paths and constantly ratcheting the tension until the band break the tension with sledgehammers, snaring all the explosive exuberance (if only briefly) and yanking it back into place with anchoring grooves, only to unleash it again in the next moment.
While the music is an exhilarating roller-coaster ride, there is method to the madness. The songs contain unifying melodic themes and compelling, convulsive rhythms that persist through all the instrumental craziness and frequent bouts of dissonance. The tracks really do get you in their grips — the music is heavy and bone-rattling just as much as it is mind-bending. While the songs are mostly instrumental — and the instrumental performances are genuinely impressive — the vocals (when they appear) are just as crazed and superheated.
There’s also another aspect to the music, one that provides a striking contrast to the band’s high-voltage intensity. Picking their moments carefully, within songs such as “Samsara”, “Paradox”, and especially the mystical closing track “Veritas”, the band slow the pace, making way for the unfolding of shimmering keyboard melodies above huge, groaning bass notes. Those moments are beautiful, in a way that brings vistas of the cosmos to mind — almost enough to induce a brief trance state before the next supernova explodes.
There are no weak spots in Ufonaut, no fat, no filler. Pick any song at random, and I think you’ll be ensnared. It’s an early-year highlight, and one people should still be talking about this time next year.
As mentioned, the album launches from Arachnophobia Records on February 15 — LP, CD, and MP3. Enjoy the full stream below.