ENTHEOS “Time Will Take Us All”
ENTHEOS is a bit of an interesting act in that the buzz has been there from the beginning. The musicians who have been involved over the band's short life have had immense pedigree backing up the hype surrounding this unit. That said, I always felt that the band's previous recorded output - though admittedly surprisingly cohesive and intricate - was just a showcase for the musicianship and not really showing us a listening experience that was as enthralling as it could have been. Admittedly, the hype surrounding this group in metal media never really came off as being all that enthusiastic either; it came off like we should all be hyped for the sake of it...maybe because of the pedigree that was involved. Up until 2023 however, this was a band that just wasn't really living up to its potential.
So with that, is this the album to shift that notion?
This album is such an interesting listen. Typical verse-chorus song structure is eschewed in favor of something that is ever-flowing and fairly constant. That isn't to say the material is without dynamics as this music just breathes in and out continuously. Dips in volume, rises in intensity, and you never really know what kind of delivery the musicians are going to go with until it happens. It's too vibe-ey, atmospheric, and groovy to call it a tech-death record, and it's certainly not really -core enough to think of it as a deathcore record. But it's far too extreme to call it progressive metal in the most traditional sense. Simply, if your notion of "progressive" tends to lean more dramatic or even more djenty at its heaviest, don't let the descriptor fool you. This record can get downright brutal and unrelenting! There can be moments as percussive as anything on a MESHUGGAH recording, as technical and simultaneously atmospheric as any solo section on a SOREPTION record, tons of groove, tons of blasting; it's really all over the place.
To describe the finished product's sound quality is just to say it's impressive how so much can be accomplished. Honestly, this is as textbook of a Mark Lewis mixjob as it gets and I mean that as the utmost compliment. Sonically, everything is aligning just so perfect and balanced, with more than enough space for everything to breathe and yet still extremely full and rich. Remember how we were talking about dynamics? That's definitely something Mark can lend to anything he touches, but most just know him for ridiculous brootz and don't realize that he's capable of something like this.
Honestly, I can't stop listening to this record. Songs like "The Sinking Sun", "The Interior Wilderness," and my personal favorite "I Am The Void" are an exercise in how to make extreme metal progressive for the sake of the overall listening experience, and not just for the purposes of noodling and wowing those of us in the audience who happen to be musicians. Everyone involved gets to really stretch out their skills and yet still hold back just enough to not take over a song. Chaney is kind of a perfect metal vocalist in that she really conjures the perfect tones for each part as it happens, and Navene is really improving his skills as a writer without relying on the power of just riffing out. The peaks and valleys are well-conceived, and even better-executed. Session-/Maybe-actual-bandmember Evan Brewer is an all-enompassing bass god as well, but there again, without ever overpowering the music for his own sake save for maybe the fretless soloing in "Oblivion" where it actually makes sense to do so. This record rules, and is legitimately an early album-of-the-year contender for me with how enthralling it is!