Entheos‘ formation has been quite the success story. Within days of announcing their newfound existence in early 2015, the four already-fairly-established metal musicians were releasing studio updates for their debut EP, and proceeded to release said EP on Bandcamp quite literally as soon as it was finished — with all of this completed in the time it takes for certain other bands to get to announcing when they’re going to announce further announcements. The band’s breakneck efficiency hardly stopped there, however, and within a short period of time following the EP’s release, they were already aboard tours with bands such as Veil of Maya and The Black Dahlia Murder. This sense of efficiency, in turn, translates extremely well into much-anticipated debut The Infinite Nothing, wherein the band build upon the unique brand of groove-oriented progressive death metal they laid the building blocks of on Primal in order to make something truly special.
It’s difficult to truly understand where Entheos as a whole are coming from without initially giving some consideration to the band’s individual members. Indeed, the four band members are themselves several highly distinct musical personalities with quite impressive resumes, noted (mentions of Animosity aside) for their work with bands such as Animals as Leaders and The Faceless. And this right here is ultimately what makes The Infinite Nothing so great: after the band tested the waters with their EP, the debut full-length they produced is a focused, synergistic combination of several distinct musical personalities, with each of them seemingly bringing out the best in one another to make for an extremely satisfying final product.
While drummer Navene Koperweis seems to be in charge of the proceedings, in that his influence is perhaps most strongly felt, each individual presence shines through across the record. Evan Brewer’s playing makes for what is easily one of the greatest bass performances this side of metal, with his relentless finger attack bolstered by a much-improved mix, whereas vocalist Chaney Crabb (who we had an excellent chat with recently!) has only further refined her fantastically menacing delivery and impressive vocal presence. When not pummelling out blast beats and furious double bass parts, Koperweis also makes himself present through the many electronic moments interspersed throughout the album, which — much like the album itself, actually — take on a much darker tone than comparatively playful parts on the EP.
All this aside, Entheos’ biggest draw arguably remains the sheer onslaught of riffs. While the EP did dole them out in solid amounts considering its modest runtime, The Infinite Nothing is practically overflowing with riff after riff, most of them courtesy of (now-former) guitarist Frank Costa. The guitar tone has an extra-satisfying crunch to it this time around, and riffs are developed further and played around with much longer than on Primal. But that’s not to say they begin to meld together or feel repetitive as the album progresses; rather, The Infinite Nothing‘s riffs are surprisingly diverse, with “Neural Damage” almost evoking earlier Necrophagist in its pinch harmonic-laden quality, while the incredible latter half of the “An Ever-Expanding Human” almost hearkens back to the climactic moments found on Opeth‘s seminal 2005 record Ghost Reveries. Given that the album is admittedly fairly dense on first listen, having clear hooks and memorable moments such as these work extremely well in drawing the listener in further.
The record also boasts some impressive expansions to the Entheos sound, demonstrating the extent of the band’s abilities without losing focus of their primary sound. The gorgeous ambient outro in the title track is an obvious highlight, as is the jazzlike clean guitar segment to be found in the occasionally Animals as Leaders-like “New Light”. The aforementioned electronic moments are also definitely more present than before, either setting the stage for riffs or directly augmenting them. In addition, “Mind Alone” features a very… interesting outro involving samples from the band’s own music (including a quick cameo of a song from Primal) getting chopped and screwed back and forth as the track gradually disintegrates into silence.
The most significant of these sonic expansions, however, is easily the addition of a novel approach to solos from new guitarist Malcolm Pugh. As compared to Frank Costa’s brief leads from the EP, Pugh’s much more extensive and free-flowing solos are dizzying in their quality, but somehow fit the Entheos sound perfectly, adding a whole other dimension to the sound of what initially felt like a very riff- and groove-oriented band, and bringing that much more to the already stacked table The Infinite Nothing offers.
Overall, Entheos have gone from a promising new project to a band that has truly realized their potential with The Infinite Nothing, improving upon the sound demonstrated on their debut EP is practically every way conceivable with a consistently excellent full-length. The chemistry between the band is undeniable, making for a record that is interspersed with individual brilliant moments but still maintains a clear focus throughout — and a record that is easily an early contender for one of the best albums of the year.