Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Entity v. Carnival Is Forever

Entity v. Carnival Is Forever

For this match-up, I toyed with the idea of bringing in Obscura for a three-way free-for-all. I also toyed with the idea of giving it a World War II theme, but perhaps it would have been in bad taste. Instead, I'll be comparing Origin's Entity to Decapitated's Carnival Is Forever.

Origin is from Topeka, Kansas, and Decapitated is from Poland. Other than that tidbit, the two bands have quite a bit in common. Both are technical death metal bands signed to Nuclear Blast, and both of them released their fifth albums in 2011.

Origin has a brutal edge to their technical death mastery. They also flirt with grind (without diving completely into it), mixing it up and keeping many of their songs relatively short (in the 2 minute range). Entity's songs are straight-forward technical death. Everything comes at you at 100 miles an hour, swinging in short, sharp bursts. The longer songs do have a progressive side, making them more satisfying. A soft interlude is placed in the middle of the album, breaking up the half hour of mechanical devastation.

It's predictable, and at times a tad sterile, but it's good.

Compare to Decapitated's Carnival Is Forever. Their approach is markedly less brutal (still far from radio-friendly). The style is less predictable, as they often mimic Meshuggah. Not in the djent way which focuses on the guitar tone and chords, but instead focusing on the important parts: weird rhythms and odd, atonal solos. When they offer up unexpected rhythms, it tends to work. When they do the odd solos, it doesn't. And when they simply do mass-produced tech-death (as much of the album is) it's unimpressive.

Compound that with a poorly-assembled, overlong album which loses momentum by going soft way too early, and we've got a problem.

The Verdict: I was willing to give Decapitated the benefit of the doubt, given the tragedy they've gone through with the loss of their original drummer / main man's brother. But they are clearly not where they were a few years ago. Carnival Is Forever gets 2 out of 5 stars. On the other hand, Origin is a tech-death factory, churning out high-quality (if mostly forgettable) brutality. Entity gets 4 out of 5 stars.

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