Release DetailsRELEASED ON 1/1/2013
It should be noted that Entites are, in a truer sense than most of their contemporaries, an actual band. Very often, they sound like one.
With Aether, Sacramento's Entities forge gradually ahead in distinguishing themselves within the increasingly crowded djent/progressive metal field. Though coloring safely within the lines and in familiar hues, the young band demonstrates a songwriting proficiency that casts the tropes they employ as tools rather than tiresome endgame. Aether is undeniably a djent album, and its first aim is to appeal to those with a keen ear for the style, but there are moments of tunefulness here that transcend the micro-genre and warrant consideration from the general listener.
Aether doesn't make a strong case for itself with opening track "Primordium," which inaccurately casts the band as striving for a level of anodyne rhythmic complexity on par with Uneven Structure's debut EP (a niche-classic in its own, hyper-specific right). It's not until several tracks into Aether that Entities hit their stride; on "Lines of Descent," syncopation takes a backseat songwriting. On album highlight "Revival," Entities' arrhythmia matters only in that in provides a fresh context for the melodic throughlines of the lead guitar. For those underwhelmed by Chimp Spanner's All Roads Lead Here, Aether, at its best, spins that album's proficient but antiseptic compositions as something fierce and engaging.
It should be noted that Entites are, in a truer sense than most of their contemporaries, an actual band. Very often, they sound like one. The introduction of the guitar solo at 3:25 of "Between Polarities" shines because it plays out like a conversation between players rather than just another fleeting melodic lark. (Take note, Mr. Dankmeyer). Though probably too young to realize it, Entities are to this critic's ears more evocative of the early 90's progressive death metal movement than the latter-day acolytes they cite as direct influences (Animals as Leaders, Between the Buried and Me). Vocalist Ian Robertson is serviceable, but that's saying a hell of a lot considering some of the atrocities this genre has produced through the alchemy of human voices and inhuman rhythms.
Aether is yet another album that (along with Vildjharta's Masstaden, Volumes' Via and Cloudkicker's pre-Let Yourself Be Huge output) casts djent as a better device than all-encompassing style. The moments where the band employs the device in service of genre-transcending songs are what makes Aether a release of note, and Entities a band to track.