Premiere: Nyn – “The Apory of Existence”
If you’re in the middle of something when you’re planning on listening to this, set it aside. This one demands your focus.
Let’s cut straight to the chase: NYN is not a band for the faint of heart. Anyone familiar with their past works knows that it’s dense material, but I’d wager even that hasn’t prepared you for what you’re about to hear. Take the speed and technical aptitude of Archspire, mix it with the ever-shifting structure and wall-of-sound approach of Jugurtha, mix in some keyboards, and you might be close to a decent description of “The Apory of Existence.” Fortunately, if you need help navigating the chaos, we have a playthrough video for a little visual assistance. Let’s get to it; there’s a lot to unpack here.
At its core, NYN’s music is still the same: super-fast nine-string(!) guitar riffing interwoven with a barrage of sweeps and tapped fills that can span the breadth of the fretboard in as little as a single measure. There are a number of new elements present here, however, most noticeably in the presence of keyboards. Formerly a solo act, Noyan Tokgözoğlu has recruited the considerable talents of keyboardist Jimmy Pitts and guitarist Tom Geldschläger for Entropy: Of Chaos and Salt. The effect of those keys is impressive; whether they’re simply supporting the melodies with choirs and strings or doubling and harmonizing with the guitars, they give significant body to the music with a variety of voices in multiple registers. Jimmy takes a couple solos as well, shredding as readily and easily as his string-slinging counterparts.
The song structure and overall complexity of the riffs has also been stepped up; quite the feat, given that that has always been a major focus of their music. “Apory” opens up with a blistering Phrygian Dominant riff accompanied by big, dramatic chords. This sets up the overarching themes of the song: super fast, nasty, and constantly in motion. It quickly morphs into a tremolo riff on the lower strings that climbs up through a diminished scale run into descending arpeggios with a massive string skip back to the root. Even following along knowing exactly what’s happening musically, the fluidity and accuracy of these motions blows my mind; this is the sort of thing I love to watch as a guitarist. I’m also a fan of the subtle change-ups in the second time through this particular passage, rewarding those paying close attention.
A set of oddly happy-sounding chords, some meaty low-end tremolo riding, and a rather unconventional fill later, we’re hit with a rhythmically abstruse passage ascending into a key change. This sets up the most “normal” part of the song, as the melodies take on a pretty standard Middle Eastern flavor. It’s easy to follow, even through a downwards shift in tempo, but it doesn’t last long. The keys become the driving force over the next few measures, the leads being the closest thing to a guidepost you’ll get as the time signature and tempo dissolve and reform over the next few measures. You’re eventually granted a reprieve as it all comes together in a laid-back (relatively speaking) tremolo segment. Even the manic vocals back off into surprisingly mild singing, coming to a full-on break.
This is where things get weird.The synths fade to the background, taking on an airy quality while making way for what I can really only describe as a demented surf rock riff. Clean guitar takes over, though it remains as hyperactive as ever. These ethereal keys and psychotic Dick Dale-style riffs back modulated spoken word before the distortion kicks back on and we’re hit with a bouncy Eastern European theme (I’m thinking Turkish feel, but I’m probably wrong). Odd as it is, it’s also my favorite part of the song; it comes out of nowhere and sounds so different, but it fits so well I can’t help but bounce back and forth like an idiot when it comes around.
From here, the song takes a thematic shift back to something closer to the beginning, though somehow more fervent. It builds up to an absolutely obscene solo from Tom; while it might not be his most complex, it’s easily one of the most alien-sounding solos he’s written. One more blindingly fast guitar passage later and we are brought to the conclusion by one last keyboard solo.
Apologies for the wall of text, but as I said, there’s a lot to unpack with this song. NYN have once again made something wholly unique, and Entropy: Of Chaos and Salt is poised to be a standout album this year. Look for the full album on August 11th; drop a preorder at their Bandcamp, and follow them on Facebook for more extended-range shenanigans.