Time Will Take Us All

Metal Blade
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Absolute Zero
02. In Purgatory
03. The Interior Wilderness
04. Oblivion
05. I Am the Void
06. Darkest Day
07. Clarity in Waves
08. The Sinking Sun
09. Time Will Take Us All

There is no avoiding it: Navene Koperweis is a seriously talented bastard. ENTHEOS were intriguing from the start, of course; the band's first two albums were exhilarating blasts of super-technical extremity, and vocalist Chaney Crabb was an undeniable force at all times. But in the years since 2017's "Dark Future", the band's lineup has shrunk down to, in effect, Koperweis and Crabb, with bassist Evan Brewer (also FALLUJAH) now in a studio-only, non-touring role. As a result, the majority of everything we hear on "Time Will Take Us All" is the drummer's work alone. Not content with delivering last year's finest metal drumming performance on MACHINE HEAD's "Of Kingdom And Crown", Koperweis is now cheerfully demonstrating his skills as a guitarist and arranger, too. The big show-off.

Fortunately, "Time Will Take Us All" never sounds like a one-man project. Crabb's vocals are fearsome and ferocious throughout, Brewer's fluid, rolling bass lines are as slick and satisfying as his admirers would expect, and the obvious synchronicity between riffs and drums is, at times, almost overwhelming in its supreme focus. For all its intricacy and aggression, the third ENTHEOS album really grooves.

"Absolute Zero" is a curious opener. Complex and densely layered, it sets Crabb's incensed screams against a churning, mutant collage of riffs, with every twist and turn indicating another dive deeper into the tech-death rabbit hole. "Purgatory" is similarly impenetrable on first listen, with its untamed tempo shifts, pitiless blastbeats and lurching, deathcore-gone-feral breakdowns. In contrast, "The Interior Wilderness" is a master class in dynamics and sonic space, as its central, lurching pulse is hijacked by waves of hazy serenity and jolting bursts of full-on death metal madness. "Oblivion" goes even further out: a grotesque anti-ballad, it evolves from queasy restraint to suppurating sludge, with Crabb's voice disintegrating to spectral dust at the bitter end.

Oddly, the second half of the album is measurably more accessible than the first. "I Am the Void" has a touch of JINJER's tense-and-release approach to it, edging towards an anthemic vibe. "Darkest Day" crams an absurd amount of ideas and contrasting riffs into its two-and-a-half minutes; "Clarity In Waves" is an exercise in pure hostility, with Crabb going fully demonic. Grand finale "The Sinking Sun" takes the opposite approach: a seven-minute smorgasbord of virtuoso violence, it swings from murderous blasting to angular, syncopated jazz-metal detour, all with the greatest of precision and elegance, before drifting off towards the title track's mellow sunset, with acoustic guitars momentarily set to soothe. One final build-up and bone-shattering crescendo later, and ENTHEOS are gone.

Subtly original and audaciously convoluted, "Time Will Take Us All" offers an exciting alternative to generic heaviness. Crabb is still a badass, and as for Koperweis — well, it's just not fair, is it?

Author: Dom Lawson
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