Germany has given rise to a number of bands that have gone on to find their place in western music collections with the likes of Kreator, Rammstein, Mekong Delta, and Sodom to name a few. All of them are multi-disc contributors. So out of the depths of dusty guitar gig bag (figure of speech) comes a band last heard in 1992. Bochum, North-west Germany, was the home of this foursome who initially released an album through Mad Noise Records and largely have not been heard since until this re-release by Awakening Records.
The first time I heard Entohpyte I was listening to ‘The war of Khyr’ and was mesmerized by the rawness of the production. I double-checked my player to make sure I wasn’t listening to a cassette tape. It felt as if I was listening to a secret early tape produced by one of the early bands that went on to have multi-million dollar studio productions. The lack of tweaking in the recording and the raw production made me feel as if I was back in the ’80s or ’90s when people didn’t have internet or online music players and were trading tapes amongst one another sharing the music they loved this way. Bands just recorded their stuff on a shitty little recorder and then shared them at gigs to try and build a fan base.
Let’s crash the obvious elephant-sized cymbal in the room: Kortmyer, vocalist and bassist, will not be getting any awards for his vocal achievements. While he was no doubt confident in his abilities to reach high notes, and grind out his grindcore growls, while still being able to maintain overall harmony he possibly needed to focus more on his own vocal range abilities somewhat more, bring in a second vocalist, or sing less. Ironically, this album comes with the last track, ‘Imprisoned souls’, being a bonus track that has ended up being the most divisive of them all as it highlights some of his more questionable vocals. According to Awakening Records, the song comes from 1990 when ‘the first sampler CD of the Halterner Rockbüro “First Step” was released, on which ENTOPHYTE was represented with the song “Imprisoned Souls”’. Having said all this though the vocals on the other tracks are fit mostly his style, and will be fine to listen apart from a time in the ‘Human machine world‘. Many vocalists out there have unusual vocal tones and Kortmyer will be in that category.
When I first heard Entophyte I was listening to ‘The war of Khyr’ and was immediately drawn in by the intro. While I think that there are tweaks to it that could be made to make it better the changing shape and texture of the song are what helped developed an immediate appreciation for the band. When a band builds a song by combining various styles, tempos and genres to create a composition rather than a song played through at the same speed and duress then they hold my attention. Three notable intros stand out with ‘A day less than zero’ racing ahead with the opening title track, ‘End of society’s Sanity‘ and ‘The war of Khyr’ filling in the ranks.
Musically the band mainly marches along the borders of progressive metal and thrash territory populated with progressive metal vocals And in the middle of ‘Random victims (Potential Killers)’ comes to a reggae or ska-punk kind of beat. Guitar solos are present but they didn’t let the lead guitarists ego loose and fill every last corner with a vigorous solo. Instead, there are mostly epic thrash riffs and songs built-in layers rather than trying to knock you down with soloing wizardry. The bass plays a role here and there with some bass solos put it in almost as an afterthought, and heard amidst the distortion. Distortion is certainly present in abundance and is balanced well.
Musically this band will take you through a journey that is worth travelling and more from this band would have been good. ‘A day less than zero’ is one of the standout songs that combines all of what they are about. What has been shown though is that sometimes an album comes out that isn’t well appreciated and by the fourth album there are selling platinum-rated albums. Perhaps this album needed some enhancement and changes in primarily the vocal department that would have sent it into higher levels.
- End of Society’s Sanity
2. Rat Race
3. Random Victims (Potential Killers)
4. Human Machine World
5. The War of Khyr
6. A Day Less than Zero
7. Imprisoned Souls
Release Year: 2019
Label: Awakening Records
Reviewed by Byron Lotz