Kicking the album off with copious amounts of prog, djent, syncopation, and relentless low-end kick, Aeolia demanded my attention from the very first second. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, and it felt as if I had just entered a doom match with a Rankor. Superposition, the first track from the album, does an amazing job at capturing several different influences, from electronica to doom metal, and throwing them into a melting pot to create pleasant ear candy that any fan of distorted guitars and genre jumping musical technicality can appreciate.
After a short ambient introduction in I. Observation, the groove of the album is really kicked into the forefront. This track will have you violently nodding your head for the first two minutes and twenty seconds before leading you into a jazzy transcendence of weaving melodies that would lend themselves perfectly to a metal interpretation of lounge music. The brutality kicks right back in without skipping a beat around the four and a half minute mark, and progresses into an ambient space opera before trudging you into a sludge-ridden abyss. And then we are introduced to II. Intelligence, quite possibly the most evil sounding track I’ve heard in a long time. It’s at this point I’m also beginning to notice the ridiculously massive sound of the drums, and at times it does become a little overbearing; especially in the more busy sections. It’s not unbearable, but could definitely use a little work. I’m also beginning to notice that this band is extremely hard to pigeonhole.
Calculating Eternity is plagued with all kinds of lead guitar that at certain times reminds me of the F-Zero X soundtrack, which is somewhat appropriate as at this point I feel my brain has been Falcon Punched by the sheer massiveness of each song. Moving through the album, I’m noticing and appreciating the vocals more and more. As this song showcases, Aeolia provides just the right amount of musical aggression for antagonistic screams to blend in with the soundscape, yet allowing breathing room for clean vocals when the time is fitting. Each line is posed with appropriate emotion, guiding me through each song and taking me on a voyage that could easily be the soundtrack to the destruction of the universe.
Reaching now to the song titled Gnarls Barkley, I am already exhausted. At the 3:55 mark, the song breaks into a Primus inspired groove and instantly sparks reminiscent thoughts of My Name is Mud, and then shortly after introduces a soaring guitar solo that grasps the very heavens and drags them to your ears to hear how sweet the angels song can be. Hallucinations then brings you crashing back down to earth before imposing a classic rock themed guitar solo that could have easily fit into any of the big names of yesteryear (think Aerosmith’s Dream On – subtle, yet emotional). This doesn’t last long, though, and I’m thrown right back into the maelstrom to fend for myself amongst the brutal drum attacks, spiraling solos, and ghostly rhythms that perform a quixotic dance between schizophrenia and enlightenment.
Things only get worse (in a good, face-melting kind of way) in Contortion. If you’re tired before reaching it to this point, you might want to take a break and come back later; this one is a doozey and will leave your head spinning. At about two minutes you’ll get a short break from having your ears pummeled, but don’t expect it to last long. Mengele is no exception when it comes to personality disorder, either. This genre-jumping shred-fest of an ear bleeder really showcases how amazing these guitar players are.
At this point I’ve about run out of ways to describe the magic that has been emitting from my speakers. The last three tracks hark back to the albums title of Entities. The First Entity: Dreamstate, The Second Entity: The Akashic Book, and The Third Entity: Chrysthanimum, all weigh in on the heavy side in terms of song length at 9:12, 8:52, and 12:20 respectively. Don’t let that fool you, though, as you’ll never hear the same thing twice. The overall progressive tendencies of these three tracks interlace and entwine the perfect amount of melodies, off-center rhythms, and zigzagging guitar riffs to keep you entertained with wonderment for the last thirty minutes of the album.
Something that I endlessly search for in music is a natural progression: something that does not lend itself easily to a defined structure. Popular music has exhausted the verse-chorus-bridge to no end, and even a classical rondo form can sometimes become a stagnant listen. Aeolia is one of the first examples I have heard in a long time that not only ditch the traditional structure paradoxes, but also exploit the fact that they have adopted a chaotic structure and hammer it into existence so that nobody in their right mind can ignore it. Is this a good thing? If you’re like me and are a technicality junkie and look for things that completely go against the norm, then YES! Yes, yes, yes. I cannot stress enough how much yes. Aeolia has done something more than creating a massive symphonic arena; they have created a journey.
The definitive unpredictability of Entities is a much-welcomed existence. The time spent wondering what’s next from each song will spark a new appreciation for the scene and keep you looking for more and more to feed the hunger of your prog metal soul. Forget all you know about music, let Aeolia reteach you everything from the beginning. Oh, and make sure you turn your sub down before putting this album on; you’ll seriously break something if you don’t.