Karnak Seti – In Harmonic Entropy

With a will and energy as formidable as their crushing sound Karnak Seti release their new self-released album In Harmonic Entropy. The release is earnest and eager, a powerful collection of songs with an intent to give maximum damage and satisfaction, and overall it pretty much succeeds on both fronts. The album bursts with forceful riffs and intricate expressive melodic invention to keep the senses constantly on alert and intrigued. Muscular and intimidating it is equally caring and decisive in bringing well structured and crafted melodic extreme metal to your table. It would be fair to say it is not bursting out with anything startling in a new sound way but In Harmonic Entropy is still a superior and tasty feast to get ones teeth into.

The quintet from Portugal first made people notice with their debut album Scars of your Decay of 2009. Full of promise and solid sounds the band announced themselves as a band to keep an eye on and with this new release have confirmed that promise even if there is still a sense of much more to come. In Harmonic Entropy is a more mature album than the debut as one would expect with fuller sounds and structured with obvious concentrated care. They have not reduced their intensity, in fact notched it up somewhat but have brought their melodic invention even more to the fore. The blend is impressive, deeply pleasing and again portent of what surely will emerge from the band as they evolve further and hone their songwriting skills even more.

The album is the first release with new singer Luis Erre joining guitarists António Jesus and Renato Ramos, bassist Claudio Aguiar, and drummer Luis Barreto. Erre’s vocals are harsh and caustic, his growls scathing upon the ear and a good compliment to the raw power of the music and contrast to the impressive melodies and intricacies. He offers just enough diversity to his delivery to never allow his hoarse tones to grate, something a few bands lately should take note of.

The album opens with ‘Long Gone Shadow’, probably its most accessible song though none are a problem to get fully engaged with. Belligerent riffs, a glorious senses twisting groove, and excitable keys all infuse the track with keen energy and addictive sounds. It may not be the best or rather most creative track on the release but it probably will be understandably the favourite of many, its eagerness to please irresistible. Following track ‘Only Red Mist Descends’ ups the ante with more tempting riffs and razor sharp melodies, and a vocal harmony at times to lose fluids over. The track ripples with all the evidence as to why one can see Karnak Seti making deep marks ahead within metal, beautifully crafted its hard bordering on threatening intensity is in a perfect blend with the creative ingenuity of the band. Easily the best track on the album of what are nine extremely enjoyable tracks.

The album is not a brutal beast but certainly makes demands of and takes from the ear with strong force. The intricate technical precision and blistering melodies are a wonderful balance to the aggression and at times fierce and heavy emotional intent of lyrics and expression. Tracks such as the imposing and grief laden ‘Loss’, the emotive and mesmeric ‘Stranded By Existence’ with an exuberant picky keyboard niggling throughout, and the excellent ‘Figureless Icons’ which sees the band doing their best In Flames impression and pulling it off without making one shout ‘copycats’, all shine and please tremendously.

In Harmonic Entropy is for all fans of the likes of In Flames, Soilwork, and As I Lay Dying and that is where the only criticism that can be laid at the album’s feet stems. The Portuguese metalers have not yet found that distinct Karnak Seti sound to set themselves apart leading to fears that this outstanding album will be lost amongst many other similar genre releases, hopefully not as it deserves unlimited attention. It is a tremendous release bulging with stunning musicianship, impressive songwriting and intelligent creativity. It also suggests that one day the band will make your new favourite melodic death metal album.

RingMaster 10/02/2012

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