Act Of Entropy & Zebulon Kosted

Album Title: 
Shaping Fatal Principles
Release Date: 
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Review Type: 

A gathering of two, well, how would I call it, eh, ‘different’ or ‘unusual’ entities…

Never mind; why should I search for certainty or familiarity, seen from the aural spectrum behind / beyond this ‘musical’ void anyway. Opposites do attract each other, yet so do creatures that are different -and therefor related- from ‘acceptance’ or ‘admission’, sharing a mutual identity for audible divergence and sonic aberration. …which easily takes me to this remarkable split, nicely called Shaping Fatal Principles.

First some ‘dry’ information. Shaping Fatal Principles is the third official release on the young UK-based label Centipede Abyss, once again enormously limited when it comes to the physical edition. This split consists of three ‘songs’ by two notorious acts (from the U.K. and the U.S. respectively), gathered under a very appropriate, characteristic and remarkable veil of visual artistry, i.e. the bizarre, somehow ‘Lovecraftian’ cover artwork; which is as horrifying and terrifying as it is intriguing and attractive. This release offers three compositions, as mentioned, ‘of the penultimate interdementionally ethereally alien sounding releases to date’, with the description ‘interdementionally’ being used consciously on purpose right here. It surely shows at least a glimpse of what is next to come.

Both acts involved -in a certain sense everlasting related, at least conceptually- focus on matter of Time, Cosmic Existence and the futility of (our) life. Questions about our raison d’être on Mater Terra (or in extension: as part of the whole Universe), life-and-death (mortality versus the sole certainty -or solution- in man’s reality, being the inevitable departure from our physical life), and trans-cosmic identity (or intelligence, if you want) form the basics to the concept what Shaping Fatal Principles stands for; a very convincing, aptly-titled working name it is for sure.

From ‘musical’ point of listen (and forgive me if I use the term ‘musical’, for it might indeed create a mental lapsus; yet then again, it’s a mostly satisfying form of mental alienation), both projects contribute with something that characterises their unconventional, lunatic approach. I will not delve too deeply into both project’s history or biography this time, and I’d prefer to go to the(ir) aural content immediately.

Shaping Fatal Principles starts with two tracks by UK-based Act Of Entropy, En’phy’ws and En’yhwssic (both titles do fit completely to Act Of Entropy’s vision). Both of them clock over ten minutes, and they sort of go on in the vein of the former material; or even further, if you want to.

The first elegy, En’phy’ws, sort of combines elements from Psycho-Grind, Free Jazz and Avantgarde (Black) Metal in a mostly discordant symbiosis. But even this summary of related genres does not cover the package at all. The spine is like a collection of repetitive electronic percussions, both melodic and jazzy yet secretly disturbing piano, and an amalgam of frenzy, hazy strings. As from the beginning, the whole avalanche of industrialized noise-sculpting overwhelms with a devastating, even apocalyptic nature. Mechanic chapters, harsh excerpts, progressive penetrations, mathematically well-balanced outbursts; it’s a thought that covers the sonic package for the major part. And despite the energetic piano-molestation and brutish string-rape, the whole somehow seems to be veiled in a nebula of toxic doom, for the whole crawls slowly forward. Towards the end, things smoothly evolve into rather atmospheric dimensions; at first still including that metallic drum-programming and multiple guitar harmonies at the background, then again developing towards an alluring ambience, almost sentimental, almost introspective…

En’yhwssic immediately devastates. High-tech grind-riffs and vexed leads, bestial bass-lines, disruptive piano-molestation, detrimental percussions of different angles, and a subtle, almost hidden amount of gruesomely-injected additions create a pernicious wall-of-sound, which is as ingenious as it is chaotic. But once again, Chaos and structure appear in a well-balanced marriage, like repulsiveness and beauty, like disgust and charm, with a surgically precise execution. Act Of Entropy once again knows how to combine these extremes with flair and elegance. Here too, as from the second half, things somehow expand, at least for a while, before returning to the core of dissonant hysteria and harmonic cacophony.

The third piece is a creation by Montana’s Zebulon Kosted, a very productive and open-minded outfit by Rachid Abdel Ghafur (both visually and sonically active within the netherworlds of our anti-frolic universum). This track is called Smoke From A Burning Alien Chemical Weapons Laboratory and lasts for almost twenty-five minutes. Here too, the whole experience permanently evolves and shifts, as if the whole composition is like a mish-mash of unusual chapters, weirdly molten into one huge sonic experiment. Yet the thing is that it does sound coherent and ‘logic’, despite the semi-medley of approaches and perspectives. Details from Jazz and Kraut-Rock, reappearing acoustics, blackened [the use of deep-throaty screams adds a very fine momentum of shivering stylishness] and horrific [like excerpts from claustrophobic horror movie sound-scores] pieces, sci-fi-laden hints of Space Ambient and Psybient, whispers and spoken words (strengthening the captivating sense of story-telling), long-stretched, almost mesmerizing waves of noise, and so much more; it does not result in some easy-listening experience, yet somehow it works like one huge narrative that both disquiets and seduces at the very same time. Smoke From A Burning Alien Chemical Weapons Laboratory is an intrusive journey through the listener’s psyche, yet from a masochistic viewpoint, it’s of immeasurable sagacity for sure.

Shaping Fatal Principles is not the thing you will hear on your national or local radio channel. You will hear it in my car or in my office, but not on any commercial source. Haha, why should it anyway. Seen the inevitable link with the ‘club’ behind The Avant-Void, one might surely sense the pseudo-magic frenzy behind, and around, this remarkable split…