Tech Death Thursday: NYN – Entropy: Of Chaos and Salt
NYN is back to break your brain. Now with 100% more Fountainhead!
- If anyone hasn’t heard yet, Spawn of Possession has officially been laid to rest. Disappointing to be sure, but at least they’ve left us with a trio of the best tech death albums out there. Plus, there are a plethora of young bands ready to pick up the torch.
- Spectrum of Delusion, a rad prog-death band in the vein of Obscura, has a new song up. Check out “Unborn Tragedy” and look for Esoteric Entity on the 18th.
- I’m a dingus and forgot to include the new Open the Nile album in this week’s Toilet Tuesday. Don’t sleep on this one; give their new single a listen here and pick up Levity tomorrow from their Bandcamp.
- Inanimate Existence just put another new song out from Underneath a Melting Sky, and it should come as no surprise at this point that it’s awesome. Look for that on August 25th, and you can expect me to be rambling incoherently about it in the near future. Lest you forget, you’ll be able to catch them on a US tour starting next month alongside Arkaik and Alterbeast (dates here).
It’s hard to describe Entropy: Of Chaos and Salt as anything besides “overwhelming.” “Progressive” comes to mind, but that word gets bandied about these days with such reckless abandon as to be meaningless. NYN do more than simply mix up time signatures or sprinkle in the odd jazz chord; they truly bring the medium forward.
Where bands like Archspire push the physical boundaries of their instruments, NYN advances the style in the complexity of their compositions. To adequately describe each song individually would take about 800 words apiece; suffice to say it’s a bit dense. While not every song is quite so packed as “The Apory of Existence,” that does represent the majority of the album. Its songs are loaded with a plethora of ideas, rarely sticking to one theme for long. Even those that do seem to be tied to a recurring theme, such as “Omnipotence Paradox,” go through an extensive series of mutations by the time they finish, rarely resembling their starting point.
As to their actual sound, it’s just as daunting as their compositions. The primary focus is on the guitar, which is in constant frenzied motion. In its more melodic moments, there are touches of Middle Eastern and eastern European flavors to it, favoring Phrygian scales and moments like the bizarre upbeat portion of the aforementioned “Apory.” That said, the prevailing element is chaos, eschewing melody for nightmarish dissonance and diminished riffs. This is all augmented by keys courtesy of Jimmy Pitts. The grandiose layers of backing synth strings and choirs give it an air of perverted regality, and he frequently doubles leads with Noyan. This makes for a more compelling listen than had it been another guitar performing every harmony; the mixture and variety of voices on hand with a keyboard creates a lot of sounds you don’t typically hear in tech death. The drums are programmed, but I believe they’re used to their fullest extent; little regard seems to have been given as to whether or not they could be played by a human, which again leads to parts that you simply wouldn’t hear from another band.
The actual human performances are nothing to scoff at, either. Most of the album is absurdly fast, and even if you’re not familiar with the workings of the fretboard of a guitar, it’s easy to hear just how difficult these riffs would be to pull off. Jumps over multiple octaves in the middle of a passage are common, and it’s never through a simple melody. The keys keep pace easily and become truly mind-bending in their own right when the focus shifts to them. Noyan Tokgözoğlu’s vocals are just as unhinged as his guitar playing, and his range of styles is so broad it’s hard to believe they all come from the same throat. Tom Geldschläger plays most of the solos on the album, further solidifying his position as one of my favorite guitarists out there. While his performance on the last Obscura record was fantastic, he pulls out all the stops on Entropy. His playing here is mesmerizing; he does things I didn’t even know were possible on a guitar, all in his unique, otherworldly style.
It probably goes without saying that this is not the most accessible tech death album ever written; listening to all of 10 seconds of the opening track will tell you that. But if you’re getting tired of hearing archetypal tech death over and over, if you want something truly forward-thinking, or if you’re looking to experience something completely new, then I wholeheartedly recommend giving this album a listen. From the opening flurry of “The Mind Inverted” to the fretless wizardry of “The Hallway” to the oddly happy start of “Taken Away by the Tides,” Entropy: Of Chaos and Salt is a truly unique experience.
Entropy releases tomorrow via Vmbrella and can be purchased on Bandcamp; you can find a full stream right here. Check out NYN on Facebook, and tell them how much the Toilet loves them. That’s all for this week, and until we meet again,
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