Transmitting from California (aka space), Entities are back again with some celestial space groove. After the release of their debut EP, “Luminosity”, this band has been getting a good bit of attention around the metal underground. They were largely praised for their acute technical skill and ability to capture a spacey vibe. Almost exactly a year after that original release, Entities have officially dropped their follow-up, sophomore effort “Aether”. It was actually released on New Years Eve of all days. But how well did it bring in 2013? You can either read on and find out or check the full EP stream just below and decide for yourself.

Overall, “Aether” is a very good release. It provides 27 minutes worth of head banging, mosh worthy music. Entities have stayed true to their roots while expanding on their sound and growing in some ways. They pack in a ton of heaviness with sharp rhythmic patterns and massive grooves as to be expected. The band also displays a good command of melody and bring plenty of spacey ambiance as they explore the final frontier through metal. Progressive Metal is a wide open sub-genre of heavy music, but Entities fall under the niche that people have come to label as “djent” almost perfectly. They fit so well that it’s safe to say this is the kind of band most djent influenced groups aspire to be. Anthony Garrison, Cody Jarvis, and Phil Water put forth a solid effort here. Vocally, Ian Robertson also did a great job. He provides a wide range of vocals from low growls to high screams which actually remind me of Dustin Davidson of all people (August Burns Red’s bassist / back-up vocalist).

“Primordium” rips open “Aether” with tight, heavy, syncopated chugging and strange backing ambiance. It’s intended to be one of those massive “djent” intros and it succeeds for the most part. “Hadean” is a much more diverse track bringing in the element of melody through some interesting guitar segments. The first two tracks are good, but the EP just gets better as it progresses. Things start getting great at track 3. “Lines of Descent” was released as a single not too long ago and stands strong as one of the best parts of “Aether”. It makes for an enjoyable ride with some very impressive lead guitar work and intricate composition. It also has some of the best atmospheric elements on the release. “Revival” has a very tasty opening before descending into ear smashing heaviness. It features a couple phenomenal, short guitar solos and possibly the best drum work on the release (even if it’s programmed). Definitely another stand out. It transitions into “Ontogenesis” which, similar to the intro, is a huge “djent” instrumental interlude. Although it is more varied this time around with some melody and a very spacey feel. It works well moving into the next track, “Between Polarities”, which shares a similar vibe. This is easily one of the best tracks on the EP. This is especially true when you consider how intense things get about halfway through until it fades out with clean, piano driven music. “Streamlined” is another awesome, stand out track from “Aether”. It brings out all the greatest elements of this band as Entities closes out the experience in the best way possible. Have a listen and you’ll hear why. Just plain incredible.

Entities does fall into many of the “djent” stereotypes. Objectively, this may cause some segments to sound like the same old, same old chug chug, regardless of complexity. They seem to follow a similar formula in much of their writing. So even though the EP is awesome, it doesn’t exactly offer anything new or particularly experimental when compared with the plethora of other bands going for a similar sound. Although I would certainly place Entities in the upper ranks of those bands. Also, a good bit of the ambient work on this EP sounds the same, even if it’s obviously not with closer examination. Those are my main criticisms here.

To sum things up, “Aether” is a great listening experience, especially if you’re into the idea of spacey, technical metal. In some ways, Entities have grown as a musical unit and it’s evident while listening to this release. There’s a lot of talent here and I’m sure these guys have a bright future ahead of them. As mentioned in the review’s intro, you can stream “Aether” in it’s entirety right here, right now! And if you enjoy the space djams, go grab the EP on Bandcamp! There’s actually both a regular and instrumental version depending on your preference. Hell, if you really want to show Entities some love, grab both!

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