Album Review: ANICON Entropy Mantra
Brooklyn's Anicon formed back in 2010 and in that time they have released several demos and splits. Entropy Mantra is the band's second full-length album and follows a very solid release in Exegeses back in 2016. If you are not familiar with Exegeses, I would encourage you to acquaint yourself with it. It certainly helps to appreciate the development of Anicon's sound that has been built over time reflected in Entropy Mantra.
From the start of the album, their first track "Feeding Hand" is an abrupt reminder of the intensity brought by Anicon and their ferocious approach. Much of this can be attributed to the excellent recording and sound created by the band. A clean sound and distinguished guitars maintain the under-produced fuzz needed to capture a semi-distant but clear bodied sound that leaves nothing to the imagination. The members of the band feature characters who also participate in well known New York black metal acts such as Yellow Eyes, Krallice, and Woe. Influences from these other bands are easily identified, but so is the content Anicon has created for itself in its catalog of releases. This strong identity, complimented by the talented musicians, adds nicely to the catalog of bands coming out of New York.
Entropy Mantra is only seven tracks in length, but only one song falls below six minutes. What Anicon excels at is the development of these fast-paced songs, sustained with intensity, only turning from one fast moving riff and segment to another. This blistering speed does not wear on the listener as one may expect. Every riff holds within it a melodic ambling and journey. This characteristic is more evident in this release than in Exegeses. In a way, the melodic tones and structure, albeit extremely speed oriented are not only catchy but define the core of the band's sound.
A great example can be taken from the track "Feeding the Hand" where at the 3:12-minute mark until the 4:45 there is a strong guitar solo led by an extremely groovy and rhythmic slam (for lack of better words). The intricate drumming and variations of fills between cadences only become more obvious through multiple listens, making the replay value worth your time.
One of the aspects of this album I encountered a lot, was how familiar a sound or riff was to me. The prominent band influence reminded me of Yellow Eyes. This could be a negative to some, but to me, it's a relation I want. New music that is distinct, while obvious influences from "cousin" bands. In essence, taking the best parts from one band's composition, and adding a melodic light speed to it. However you interpret it is up to you, but let there be no mistake.
It's not too often an album can engross me as much as Anicon's music can. I somehow feel it's a hybrid of the best sub-genres of black metal, and the band is able to meld it all together perfectly. Going back to Exegeses and reexamining what the band put out two years ago only amplified my enthusiasm for Entropy Mantra. I looked back and saw I had placed Exegeses at number seven on my year-end list in 2016, I'm glad to hear that album has still held up over time, and this new release surpasses it.