With a career stretching back to the late ’90s and a sixth album on the way, Embrace of Thorns should need no introduction. One of the most formidable bands from Hellas, they have moved from strength to further strength, ever-advancing in their explorations of musical muscularity and mood, rendering creations of blackened death metal that both pulverize listeners and create compelling and harrowing atmospheres.
Some would argue that even 20 years into their career, they produced their best album in 2018’s Scorn Aesthetics, though others will steadfastly maintain that 2009’s Atonement Ritual or 2011’s Praying for Absolution are cult classics that have not yet been surpassed.
This kind of debate is likely to intensify with the advent of the band’s new album Entropy Dynamics, which is set for release on October 10th by Nuclear Winter Records. At a significant 50 minutes in length, it definitely won’t short-change fans, and that length alone is one sign of just how brightly the band’s creative fires continue to burn, and just how fervently they continue to explore wide-ranging dynamics in their ideas and in the kind of trip they wish listeners to take in their company.
Today we have an example of this in our premiere of the album’s second advance track, “The Breath of the Beast“.
One one level, “The Breath of the Beast” is a mad and mauling onslaught, with drums hammering at a blistering pace, guitars skittering and scything in savage frenzies, and vocals exploding in utterly vicious howls. Chaos reigns, but the band also bring to bear electrifying drum variations and punishing grooves, along with wild cries and the seamless insertion of sweeping tremolo’d melodies that seem to channel affliction and despair.
The intensity of the experience is breathtaking, but the band reveal their flair for dynamism when the they segue into a chilling yet seductive atmospheric interlude. Clean notes ring out in mysterious ways in the midst of void-like radiations, providing a prelude to a sequence that’s both crushing and doom-stricken, bone-smashing and oppressive. It’s a nightmarish experience, made even more spine-tingling by the accompanying vocal variations and flickering guitar leads.
Visions of apocalypse come to mind, and linger even as the song fades away in intriguing fashion.
We’re also including a stream of the new album’s first-released song, “Entropy Dynamics / Nucleus Dissolved” — a track that’s just as multi-faceted as the one we’re premiering today. It’s a spine-jarring juggernaut but also packed with riffs and exhilarating melodies that spawn visions of crazed delirium, scampering savagery, and soaring infernal grandeur that freezes the soul.
Entropy Dynamics was mastered at Priory Recording Studios by Greg Chandler, and it includes cover art by Frater Teth. Nuclear Winter will release the album in multiple formats — CD, vinyl LP, cassette tape, and digital.
To coincide with this release, Nuclear Winter is also reissuing the band’s afore-mentioned albums Atonement Ritual and Praying for Absolution, along with the band’s latest EP released last spring, The Pantheon I, which will be supplemented with an exclusive bonus track.