“Why do these silly guitarists get all the glory? I can slay just as many notes as they can!”
Presumably, this is the driving thought behind any person learning to play a fretless bass. Damon Good – alongside drummer Charlie Koryn – is using VoidCeremony’s debut album as an opportunity to flex immense musical muscles and show that the rhythm section can carry an album just as well as any smelly ‘ol six-string.
Throughout Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel’s 33-minutes, Koryn’s drums are the primary driving force. His approach is so frenetic that it’s a wonder that his wrists didn’t shatter by the end of the recording sessions. He provides a constant barrage of speedy fills balanced against equal measures of Immolation-esque jagged, off-kilter beats and blasting that’s so close to taking the songs off the rails, it’s like a slightly more reserved version of a Devourment gravity blast.
Despite the jest opening this review, Garrett Johnson and John Reider execute their guitar parts at a high level, creating dizzying passages that only further the dissonance this brand of music can impart.
Entropic’s mix is really what cements the rhythm section as the leaders of this deathly enterprise. For the majority of the album, each guitar is separated to one side of the speaker playing different parts that play off each other without fully gelling together very often. The drums, however, are not only high in the mix but are front-and-center for the whole ride. Similarly, the bass is right in the middle and given opportunities in every song to take over relegating the guitars to a swarming support system.
VoidCeremony’s greatest weakness comes in the form of songcraft. The majority of these six tracks never quite feel like a full song, but rather a number of interesting parts stitched together. The last minute and a half of “Sacrosanct Delusions,” for example, has a nice stop-start riff that pings up on the stop, drops into one of the patented bass runs before unleashing a slick little guitar lead that fades into a quick blast and a 20-second drum solo outro. A lot is accomplished quickly and flows nicely, but there’s no reason this should be the ending of the song. The drum solo winds down before it has a chance to fully develop and would’ve made for a great segue into a big climactic moment that doesn’t arrive.
Oddly enough, the album’s longest track is its most cohesive. “Empty, Grand Majesty (Cyclical Descent of Causality)” is nearly nine-minutes of glorious madness. The opening riff has a slight trad-metal pomp too it, and the song proceeds to implement a nearly clean and almost free-form guitar segment, off-kilter crashes, and quick leads, among the players’ other primary modus operandi. Each section flows nicely into the one that follows and the final riff is reminiscent of the opening one without being a perfect callback, closing things off nicely.
Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel is an engaging and strong first full length that shows off a band with technical chops that just need a touch more time on the song development side. Will I be waltzing down the street air-drumming entire songs from memory after listening to this? Not likely. But for now, I am happy to have my eyes bug out to those drums while the thick bass lines swallow me whole like Jon Voight in Anaconda.