Entorx – Faceless Insanity


Seven years between albums is a long time in any band’s career, especially for an independent artist like Germany’s Entorx. With no record label promoting them, they could have called it a day and looked back on their time with pride as an enthusiastic exponent of technical thrash metal. They once supported Vader and organised their own tour of southwest Germany in 2015. True soldiers for the cause.

Thankfully, this Speyer quintet did not give up and used their time to create a masterpiece of metallic fury that embraces the harsh sounds of death metal and the precise assault of thrash. This is the album you hope Strapping Young Lad would make if they got back together. Those Roadrunner records you grew up with in the 1990s from Sepultura and Machine Head never received a true interpretation because of the nu metal crap that followed. Here they get the accurate representation they deserve. You can guess the albums these guys listened to over the last seven years – Death’s The Sound of Perseverance, Metallica’s Hardwired to Self-Destruct, Revocation’s Existence is Futile, Dream Theater’s Awake. Yet is never sounds like a pastiche of what came before it.

This is a work of art that explores the dark side of America’s war on terror. The extraordinary renditions, the waterboarding, the abandonment of habeous corpus, the hypocrisy of the land of liberty. Easy target from a bunch of pampered Germans who rely on the US to protect them from Russia, you might say. But sanctimonious this is not. They mean every word of it and imagine the horror of being detained without charge for years on end. The screams of ‘Let me out!’ will incite your righteous fury as you bang your head to the breakneck speed of the blackened death metal riff pulsating through ‘Black Dawn’. ‘Hypocritical Faith’ starts with a Tom Araya ‘Angel of Death’ scream and mixes brutal death metal with Revocation thrash riffs before a female vocal harmony comes from nowhere like a suicidal concubine in the Sultan’s harem. Throughout, the band utilise the classic dual vocals of Carcass, as employed to great effect by Brighton tech death sensations, Woe Betide.

Fans of bass guitar will lap this up when they hear the angular pulse of the low-end strings on ‘PTSD’ and ‘Death Machine’. This is also the band’s main innovation. No other outfit gives so much groove to the bludgeoning sounds of death metal and thrash than these Germans. It would be so easy to drown it all out in a wave of double-bass pedals and blast beats that sound like speed boat engines, but Entorx choose to go with the classic hand-to-foot thrash beat. It works a treat and allows the guitars to lead the heavy assault. Check out the marathon of vintage thrash riffs towards the end of ‘Paranoid Conspiracy’ for evidence.

This on its own would be enough to warrant a glowing review, yet Entorx are not content with just being a good band. The unexpected Mike Patton/ Mr Bungle detour on ‘Morbid Rage’ is as surprising as the Dream Theater-esque tempo change on ‘Doomed’. The latter ends up in a cacophony of jazz fusion chords and bass fills. At ten minutes in length, it’s a progressive masterpiece unthinkable at the start of this record.

Cross pollination in metal had its heyday in the 90s and went into decline at the turn of the century. A death-thrash band like Entorx illustrate what is possible when you take your favourite records and merge them into an imaginative soundscape that knows no boundaries between metal’s extreme sub-genres.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 29/05/2020

Record Label: Self Released

Standout tracks: Black Dawn, Morbid Rage, Doomed

Suggested Further Listening: Death – The Sound of Perseverance (1998), Slayer – Repentless (2015), Revocation – Existence is Futile (2009)