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Album Review: ENTHEOGENWithout Veil, Nor Self

Posted by on February 15, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Monochromatic and unforgiving Entheogen are the latest and greatest band to be coming out of the Fallen Empire Records fold, a group made especially notable because the band is essentially a Chaos Moon side project. This is the sort of act who craft incredible, dare I say dizzying, soundworlds that cascade across your eardrums guiding you into sonic bliss. They aren't exactly light listening. In fact – I would go so far as to say that Entheogen represent quite the opposite. This is a band who ebb forward with a sort of dystopian majesty guiding their songwriting. They represent a twisted reality punishing you time and time again as you delve into dark atmospheres and are forced to choke on the unforgiving wall of sound. And yet despite all of this it is immediately apparent that the members of Entheogen are all insanely talented. The drum fills in particular are reminiscent of bands like Downfall Of Gaia, hinting at jazz chops that transcend many of the genres common limitations. This is avant garde and brainy black metal for the modern metal head, but it can also be a challenging listen.

In fact – I would say that this record may be in many ways too alienating. Where the various members other acts (Chaos MoonSkapheHaunter) have always been known for challenging music, this is a record that seems to really indulge in how monochromatic it can be. While on the one hand this is strangely thrilling because it creates bold and unique soundscapes, but it also means that at times the songwriting feels a little bit limited. Without Veil, Nor Self shows a band who perfectly understand their vision and have no desire to expand beyond it. Now, if you enjoy that Kriegsmachine-esque destruction then this is going to be a record that you love. However if you are looking for black metal that seeks to push the boundaries of the avant garde side of the genre or evolve beyond all that, you might need to reevaluate. That all being said – for what it is this is a delicious listen and a record that is filled to the brim with unique musical twists and turns of the sort that can't help but to fascinate.

This is a record that isn't afraid to explore pelagic depths within the frame of what it is. It's a record that pushes the listener to uncover layers within the sonic assault that belay the talent of the musicians within. In many ways, the soundworld that is presented here is apocalyptic, and apocalyptic in a sense that often isn't touched on in black metal. As a track like 'Sol Genesis' rages forth it is easy to see the terror of the blasted heath that lays before you. the sort of self loathing encapsulated in these tracks and the desire to go beyond, even when it would be so hard is delectable and hints at so much more to come from a black metal band who have a delightfully clear mission. Watching them expand upon this and turn this potent base into something greater will be a rare treat.

Score: 7.5/10